Buyer's Guide

There are so many things to consider when buying an artificial tree it’s almost overwhelming!

Don’t worry – we are here to help you.

If your question isn’t answered here, feel free to Ask Randolph!


How big should my tree be?

The first thing you will want to ask yourself is where the tree will be placed in your home and what its purpose is. Are you wanting an accent tree for the entryway or a focal tree for the living room? Maybe you want a tiny tree for the kids to decorate or a mini tree for the dining room table.

After you’ve decided on that, it’s time to think of size. If you’re purchasing an accent or mini tree, this is an easy step!

Measure the area in which you plan to place your tree. Measure how wide it is and how tall it is. These are your extreme limits. Compare these measurements with the diameter and height of the tree  - these will be the most important factors (if your tree doesn’t fit, who cares about anything else?)!

Try to purchase a tree that is one to two feet (30-60 cm) shorter than the ceiling to leave ample room for the tree topper. Also, you don’t want the tree to look crammed into the space. Take into account the diameter as well and leave yourself a little room for “openness”.


Pine? Fir? Spruce? What’s the difference?

Alright, I’ll be honest about this one. After looking at hundreds of artificial trees, these names truly seem arbitrary to me. In nature, they are very significant and if purchasing a real tree need to be taken into account. However, when it comes to artificial, it’s about what you like in the tree, not what it’s named.   

Tip count – what’s the big deal?

It is a traditional thought that tree quality is based on the number of “tips”, which are the small branches of the tree (see photo on our FAQ page). However, in the “old days” there weren’t a whole lot of choices when it came to artificial trees. They were all fairly similar, so comparing tip counts was a valid way of comparing the tree’s overall quality. Today, with so many variety in style from tree to tree, tip count isn’t always the best way to decide, although it can be helpful – depending on the type of tree you are looking at. For instance, our 7.5'  Royal Fir has 4,390 tips while our Santa Monica only has 1,013. This is a really significant difference! Because of the Santa Monica’s longer needle style, it would look like an overgrown bush if it had as many tips as the Royal Fir. Just keep in mind that quantity doesn’t always equal quality.

How many lights should be on my tree?

This is completely a matter of choice. Our 7.5 feet trees range in light count from 400 on our Dutchess (which is honestly one of my favorites) to 1,000 on our Two Creeks Fir. Our average light count runs around 700 on a 7.5 foot tree. That’s almost 100 lights per foot of tree.

This also depends on the type of lights on your tree. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for more information on this.

How much different is a slim tree from a traditional tree? Are they all the same? What about pencil trees?

Slim trees are quite different from traditional silhouetted trees. Their taper from bottom to top is much more gradual than in a traditional tree – and of course, they are more slender. On a side note, they are very chic as well!

No two slim trees are created equal! The word “slim” is an all-encompassing term for a slender silhouette, there is no set diameter. The same goes for “pencil”. Traditionally, pencil trees are known to be even more slender than slim trees. Make sure you check the diameter of the tree – this will help in your comparisons and is the only way you will know how truly “slim” the tree is.

What's the difference between PE and PVC needle material?

PVC (polyvinylchloride) and PE (polyethylene) are the two most common materials used to make needles for artificial Christmas trees.  Each material can be used exclusively or may be combined together to create a realistic artificial Christmas tree.  Both materials are durable and should last for years.  PVC is the more traditional needle material in the artificial Christmas tree industry and is typically less expensive than PE.  PVC will vary by color, texture, and weight or thickness which influences shape retention, cost, quality and durability.  PVC can be trimmed to yield a variety of needle lengths and shapes.  PE has been used as a needle material in the industry for decades as well and has made a resurgence over the last few years.  Designers can create more detailed textures and shapes using PE since it can be poured into molds to achieve the exact look they have in mind.  Some of our Christmas trees are entirely comprised of PVC and some have a combination of PVC needles with some PE needles added closer to the ends of the branches.  We don’t feel one material is better than the other, nor is having PE mixed into the tree necessarily a better look.  What matters most is you select your trees based on what visually appeals to you, meets your decorating style and needs, and fits the size and shape needs of your rooms.  We recommend you make your choices based on these criteria and not just because the tree has PVC and/or PE needles.

What about tip and needle variety? Why is that important?

Again, this is very unique to each person’s taste.

Our Ridgewood Slim has completely uniform tips, with no variation in shape or color. This produces a very traditional look and is good for those who plan on heavily decorating their tree.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lake Geneva has three different tip types. These differences give the Geneva a lot of variety and dimension. Because of this, it has the ability to look amazing with or without decorations.

Also look for notes on color variation among needles. Although a little color variation is common among most trees, a lot of color variation can produce a beautifully unique look.


Other tips:

Take advantage of our zoom feature. There is so much detail to be seen!

Ask yourself if you are wanting something traditional or contemporary/modern. Remember – you are making an investment and will probably use this tree for years to come.

Don’t be overwhelmed by tip and light count – get something for you. Buy it based on your taste and likes rather than numbers.

C7 lights might seem like a thing of the past to some. However, they are making it back on the "trend" list for 2008. They are stunning mixed with mini lights and are a subtle way to try something new and different. The Jade Mountain is a perfect example.