8 best artificial Christmas trees: Faux firs that rival the real thing

We looked for quality materials, sturdy bases, good coverage and value for money  (iStock/The Independent)
We looked for quality materials, sturdy bases, good coverage and value for money (iStock/The Independent)

While some argue there’s nothing quite like the scent of a real spruce or natural fir at Christmastime, there are plenty of reasons to go faux. Just as artificial houseplants and flowers have seriously upped their realism game, so too have Christmas trees with a wealth of increasingly authentic-looking products on offer.

In terms of sustainability, most are still made from PVC or PET, two of the most common types of plastic. However, today’s best artificial trees really are made to last, meaning you can bring them out year after year, looking as good as new – and in the knowledge that you haven’t been responsible for chopping down the real thing.

If realism is particularly important to you, unsightly metal stands can be hidden away with natural woven tree skirts typically made from homely wicker or willow, and you can even buy scented baubles or discreet hanging scented sticks that successfully mimic the wonderful fresh fir smell – a couple of mulled wines in and your Christmas party guests will never know!

If you’re less concerned about how authentic your tree looks, choosing an artificial one will allow you to go all out with creative colours and materials, pre-lit products, and those that play around with shapes. The best bit, of course, is that these faux options won’t leave you hoovering up pine needles until March like a real tree.

How we tested

We tested out a range of artificial Christmas trees from the super-authentic to the proudly faux and flashy, looking for quality of materials, a strong a sturdy base to avoid topples, whether the branches gave us good coverage and depth to hang our string lights and baubles, and ultimately, bang for our buck.

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The best artificial Christmas trees for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Hayes Garden World 6ft snowy St Francis spruce feel-real artificial Christmas tree: £115.99, Hayesgardenworld.co.uk

  • Best space-saver – UK Christmas World 7ft glacier artificial Christmas tree: £129, Ukchristmasworld.com

  • Best for cats, dogs and babies – Habitat 6ft half parasol Christmas tree: £50, Habitat.co.uk

  • Best realistic shaping – B&Q 7ft Glenshee spruce artificial Christmas tree: £142, Diy.com

  • Best for fun – Dobbies 120cm flower fibre optic tree: £99, Dobbies.com

  • Best mid-priced buy – Wilko 6ft grey twilight spruce Christmas tree: £45, Wilko.com

  • Best for a frosty scene – House Beautiful 7ft Nevada spruce artificial Christmas tree: £123, Homebase.co.uk

  • Best for a theatrical look – George rose gold tone 6ft unlit Christmas tree: £40, Asda.com

Hayes Garden World 6ft snowy St Francis spruce feel-real artificial Christmas tree

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

  • Size: 6ft

With its frosty finish, this impressively real-looking Christmas tree brings winter wonderland loveliness to the living room – and that’s before it’s decorated and illuminated. The St Francis spruce boasts Hayes’ “feel-real” PE branches, meaning the tips are actually taken from a mould of real trees. We loved the shaping of this one, with branches that jut out and allow for larger baubles and decorations. This also gives the tree a wonderful depth, which further adds to the realism. On a compact but heavy metal stand, the artificial Christmas tree feels reliably sturdy. This one’s crying out for a natural wicker skirt ring to finish the look.

Buy now £115.99, Hayesgardenworld.co.uk

UK Christmas World 7ft glacier artificial Christmas tree

Best: Space-saver

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: 7ft

With its neat conical shaping, this faux fir is all about the height rather than the width. That said, the artificial Christmas tree looks and feels luxuriously full and lush thanks to its frosted tips, which give it a pleasing dynamic – and of course the addition of realistic snowy-tipped pine cones dotted around.

This one includes a heavy-duty stand, which can be folded away for easy storage, and is simply put together via manageable branches that hook onto a central pole. The branches need to be arranged to ensure there are no gaps, but that’s all part of the fun. The tree is low-sitting with only a hint of the metal stand visible but if you want a truly authentic look, there’s an additional tree skirt ring in natural willow or natural wicker on offer.

Buy now £129.00, Ukchristmasworld.com

Habitat 6ft half parasol Christmas tree, green

Best: For cats, dogs and babies

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: 6ft

Many pandemic pets will be enjoying their first Christmas at home this year and in response, Habitat has come up with an ingenious half-tree to avoid the incessant bauble-batting and tinsel-tugging. The half parasol tree is, of course, a great choice if you’re short on space, or indeed if you have a curious tot who’s attracted to the sparkle. Made from PVC and with a sturdy metal stand, the tree features lush green branches that give a decent impression of a real pine – these can be arranged to ensure the best shaping. And with such a huge gap, this year, you can pile those pressies high.

Buy now £50.00, Habitat.co.uk

B&Q 7ft Glenshee spruce artificial Christmas tree

Best: Realistic shaping

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: 7ft

B&Q’s Glenshee has a pleasing bell-bottom design, which ensures authentic shaping. But unlike the real thing, these branches won’t cower with the weight of the baubles. In fact, this one will stay bushy and sprightly with its upturned tips throughout the festive period. At 7ft, this is one imposing artificial Christmas tree that’s half as wide as it is tall, meaning it demands some space. The tree is supported by a strong metal base and offers a good depth for applying string lights and a wealth of decorations.

Buy now £142.00, Diy.com

Dobbies 120cm flower fibre optic tree

Best: For fun

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: 120cm

While most artificial trees strive for realism, others celebrate the faux with materials and colours that are anything but authentic. Dobbies’ dazzling fibre optic number is one such tree with its white base and iridescent florals. The PVC tree boasts warm white lights that accentuate the pinks and blues of the flowers, while a transparent star sits on top. Unapologetically camp (and handily compact), this one needs no further decorations, simply arrange the branches, plug it in, sit back and enjoy a glass of bubbly.

Buy now £99.00, Dobbies.com

Wilko 6ft grey twilight spruce Christmas tree

Best: Mid-priced buy

Rating: 8/10

  • Size: 6ft

This is one plush and feather-like artificial tree thanks to its extra-long pine needles and frosty finish. In a pale silvery grey, it looks best when accented with cool blue and silver decorations. This one features easy to manoeuvre hinged branches and a base that feels reliably firm despite being both compact and discreet. The 6ft tree has a uniform appearance, so doesn’t score too highly on realism but it is a beauty – and an affordable one at that.

Buy now £45.00, Wilko.com

House Beautiful 7ft Nevada spruce artificial Christmas tree

Best: For a frosty scene

Rating: 9/10

  • Size: 7ft

This is another artificial tree with a uniform, conical shape overall but within that, it features realistic foliage that can be arranged via hinged branches to look wonderfully lavish with good depth for lights and baubles. The faux spruce is lightly flocked for a pretty winter wonderland aesthetic and offers an authentic look both in the branches themselves and their snowy tips. It features a low-sitting solid metal stand that’s easily hidden once a few pressies are placed underneath. At 7ft, this tree has an imposing presence but doesn’t take up too much width.

Buy now £123.00, Homebase.co.uk

George rose gold tone 6ft unlit Christmas tree

Best: For a theatrical look

Rating: 7/10

  • Size: 6ft

Offering instant glamour and homely warmth is this unusual rose gold number from George at Asda. Made from a mix of PVC and iron, the branches are tinsel-like and reflective, meaning this one really shimmers when the lights go on. Of course it makes no pretence at realism – either in material, colour or form – but we loved that it offered something a little different. This one needs careful arranging to avoid any gaps, but is a snip at just £40.

Buy now £40.00, Asda.com

Artificial Christmas trees FAQ’s

What size artificial Christmas tree should I buy?

Depending on your space confinements this varies. But, as a rule of thumb, if you are looking for a full size you need to have at least six inches between your tree and the ceiling. Don’t forget to leave room for your angel.

What should I look for when buying a fake Christmas tree?

There are a few factors you must consider before purchasing an Artificial Christmas tree such as the right size, the right shape, branch shape, pre-decorated or bare. Consider where you are placing your tree, and what would work best in the space, before making any decisions.

What is the average cost of a fake Christmas tree?

In actual fact, artificial trees are sold all year long. The best deals can be found during the big shopping days like Black Friday, you also may want to take advantage of boxing day/ post–Christmas sales and of course, the summer months are a good shout too.

What is the 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.

How often should you replace artificial Christmas tree?

The average life of an artifical Christmas tree is around 10 years, but theoretically, if you were to take good care of your tree it could last forever. Christmas trees aren’t just for Christmas it seems!

The verdict: Artificial Christmas trees

Hayes Garden World’s 6ft snowy St Francis spruce feel-real tree got our top marks for its authentic-looking foliage and its rich and bushy feel. We loved the dynamic shaping of this one, which allowed us to get really stuck in with lights and baubles from the centre to the tips of the tree.

We also loved B&Q’s 7ft Glenshee spruce artificial Christmas tree for its realistic bell-bottomed form and its sprightly upturned branches.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on homeware and Christmas essentials, try the links below:

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