If you're opting for an artificial Christmas tree this year, we don't blame you. Fake trees save you the hassle of trying to keep a tree alive and the cleaning up afterwards – oh, and still finding pine needles in your carpet the following year.
Artificial trees these days are convincing and affordable, with a great range of options – unlit, pre-lit, frosted, all-white, pine, spruce...you get the idea – you'll find the one for you among our top picks.
Once you've chosen your perfect artificial tree, browse our Christmas tree decorating ideas for inspiration. And if you think you may want a real one instead, read our guide to choosing the best real Christmas trees.
1. The perfectly shaped Christmas tree in vivid green
If you don't know where to begin, or what size, shape, or type of fake Christmas tree to go for, then look no further than this gorgeous Peruvian Pine from John Lewis. It's the most perfect combination of size, quality, and colour we've seen – a vivid, emerald green pine with well-defined branches that look gorgeous when decorated. You'll want to keep using this one year after year.
2. Want an artificial Christmas tree that looks real? This is it
Inspired by a Douglas fir, this life-like tree has bushy branches that will never drop or scratch and is super easy to store away in the New Year. It comes in four heights: 4ft, 6ft, 8ft and 10ft.
Albert Christmas tree, from £95, Neptune.
3. Mad but fab: artificial Christmas trees the kids will love
Not into the trad scene? This amazing rainbow coloured tree will ensure a bright and cheerful Christmas! Beautiful in its simplicity, you could keep it decoration free or simply add some fairy lights, and why not team it with this sweet pink ombre tree?
Rainbow Christmas tree, £35, Argos Home.
4. Artificial Christmas trees for (very) small spaces, anyone?
This pair in their hessian covered pots will look great on a table or placed on a hallway or sideboard to create a welcoming feel. They both come with warm white LEDs on a green cable that’s intertwined around the trunk.
5. The best artificial Christmas tree for large living rooms
This luscious 7ft artificial Christmas tree is built to last and has thick, hooked branches and a premium metal bast – great for young families as it’s so sturdy! Best of all? It's sooo tall, it's the perfect buy for a room with high ceilings BUT it doesn't cost a fortune. Love it.
7ft Canadian fir Christmas tree, £60, Wilko.
6. Best white artificial Christmas tree (for Scandi schemes)
For a modern home a white tree can work really well and this design looks great with rainbow coloured decorations. The branches are flocked and the LEDs give a subtle glow – no need for the annual fairy light check!
7ft Igora pre-lit tree, £125, B&Q.
7. Best artificial Christmas tree for small spaces
Space at a premium but still hankering after a tree? We’ve found you the perfect solution! This slimline tree has a light dusting of snow and is easy to build and store.
6ft snow tipped pencil tree, £25, Argos Home.
8. Love your Christmas tree big and bushy? Here's one for you
Big and bushy, this rustic looking tree really does have a natural shape – it even has a tree trunk that’s been created to look realistic. It comes in three sizes each with luxury style tips for added impact.
Luxury Glenshee tree, from £99.99, Studio.
9. The best artificial Christmas tree with fluffy branches
Ultimately, the choice of a fake Christmas tree should be dictated by your personal preference. Do you associate a Christmas tree with long, slender branches or super-fluffy, shorter ones? If it's the latter, you'll love this plump and fluffy Fireside tree from John Lewis. The branches are closer to the trunk, too, giving the tree an extra fullness.
How to choose the best artificial Christmas tree
When you shop for an artificial tree in person, you can easily judge the look and strength of the product in front of you, but this isn't possible when buying online.
Fortunately, top-quality brands like Balsam Hill will allow you to order samples from their website. This helps you check the actual texture against what you think you see in the picture. If you can't order a sample, always look at a close-up photo and check reviews where available.
Which type and material?
The very best trees have bristles that are barely distinguishable from real branches. These tend to be made from a material called PE plastic (or polyethylene). The PE can be injection-moulded into needles to mimic the feel and colouration of real foliage.
Cheaper trees are often made from PVC strips. These look more like dark green tinsel to mimic fir-type trees. Once dressed they still make a beautiful centrepiece and offer a pleasing 'full' look.
Mid-range trees tend to be a mixture of PE needles with PVC fir to add density.
Hinged branches are better than hook-on as they can quickly be assembled by merely pulling the branches down into place.
Don't just check the branches. A good tree should have a well disguised trunk (or centre pole). You also want a sturdy stand so go for metal instead of plastic.
If you can, find a tree with a guarantee – there is nothing worse than taking your tree out for its second year and finding yourself assembling a sparse twig.
As with any purchase, buy the best you can afford. A good artificial tree can be expected to last for at least 15 years so it is worth the expense when you work out how the cost is spread.
Expect to pay from around £250 for a high-quality 6ft, unlit tree. Larger trees and the best imitations could cost in excess of £700. This may sound like a large outlay, but a real 6ft tree will cost at least £50 so just think of it as 14 years' worth of real trees (then treat it well and it might last 20).
Which style of artificial Christmas tree to go for?
Traditional artificial trees are designed to mimic real trees so will often be named after their authentic counterparts. If you know you prefer your Nordmann fir over your Fraser fir, then that is the basis for your search. To simplify things though, many manufacturers allow you to search by height, shape or 'realism'.
For very traditional schemes, you will most likely want the best real-look tree you can afford. These can also come 'frosted' to appear as though they have just been taken in from a light snow shower.
In contemporary schemes you might be tempted to try something a bit different and this is where the many vibrantly coloured trees come to shine. Black, brilliant white and even neon trees have been popular in previous years. These are perfect for making a statement.
Pre-lit or ready to decorate?
Pre-lit trees are really easy to dress, removing what can be the dark art of fairy light placement. They are often built to have inconspicuous wiring which is another benefit.
Some may be concerned that should the lights fail, you have a tree you can't use. Look for a good manufacturer that uses energy-efficient LED lights with a 50,000-hour life. Some will also offer a guarantee on the bulbs and replace them should they blow.
If you want more flexibility, go for an unlit tree so you can add the lights in the formation (and colour) of your choice. In short, if you want the freedom of creativity go unlit, if you want speed choose pre-lit.
How to care for your artificial Christmas tree
Keep your tree away from heat sources. When the festive season is over, remove all ornaments, unplug the tree and dust the branches if required. If you do need to vacuum your tree, be sure to use the soft-brush attachment to prevent damage.
Carefully fold the branches and deconstruct your tree. Store it in the original box or bag and keep it somewhere cool and dry. To avoid it getting damp or smelling musty, you can keep it with a container of baking soda, coffee grounds (not used) or silica gel sachets.