Finding a New Faux Christmas Tree

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Balsam Hill. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Last February, Finn and I received a call that a pipe burst at our storage facility and our entire unit was submerged in six feet of water. When we arrived to take a look at the damage, we were overwhelmed seeing how bad it truly was. All of our childhood mementos, photographs, and yearbooks were soaked. My wedding dress was soggy. Our faux Christmas tree was mildewy and all of our Christmas decorations were completely unusable. It was heartbreaking and we ended up only salvaging a few items (luckily, we were able to get my wedding dress cleaned and repaired!). You can read more about that sad experience in this blog post.

With the upcoming holiday season fast approaching, I knew that I would need to buy all new Christmas decorations. It’s funny because for the past four years, I’ve teamed up with Michaels for a Dream Tree challenge and they would send me a new Christmas tree every year. A girl doesn’t need multiple trees (especially when living in a small condo!), so I pretty much gave one away every year to a family member. Yet, here I was suddenly treeless! Funny how life works like that!

Faux Christmas Tree ReviewBalsam Hill Christmas tree

Luckily, Balsam Hill reached out to me to see if I wanted to do a faux Christmas tree comparison game. I was super intrigued. I’ve always admired the brand and their high-quality holiday items, yet I had never purchased anything from Balsam Hill myself. They asked if I wanted to do a comparison of one of their trees to a big box tree of my choice and do a completely honest review. (Yes, this post is sponsored by Balsam Hill, but they wanted a genuine and honest review, even if that meant I liked the competition more than their tree!) I figured, why the heck not?! I need a new Christmas tree and I would love to find a quality one that we can have for years to come. Bring on the Christmas trees in October!Comparing faux christmas trees

I ended up choosing this 7.5 foot Balsam Fir tree from Balsam Hill and this 7.5 Pre-lit tree from Target. They arrived a few weeks ago, and I set them up in our empty bedroom upstairs.

I’ll be comparing each tree in multiple categories giving them scores out of 5, plus an overall score at the end.

Balsam Hill Tree – Overview

Balsam hill faux Christmas tree


  • Height: 7.5 feet
  • Width: 60 inches
  • Lights: Candlelight Clear LED
  • Price: $1099 (currently on sale for $899).
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Description: Designed to mimic the exact look of a real Balsam Fir with semi-flat needles and upward-sloping branches.

Target Tree – Overview

Faux Christmas tree from target

  • Height: 7.5 feet
  • Width: 52 inches
  • Lights: Clear Incandescent
  • Price: $380
  • Warranty: None
  • Description: This plastic Christmas tree is realistically styled to look like a beautiful Balsam fir, and the dense boughs lend a life-like look you’ll love.

The Setup

  • Balsam Hill Tree: 4.5/5
  • Target Tree: 3.5/5

Setting up faux Christmas trees.

Both trees were very fast and easy to setup. They each came with a stand and you put each section of the tree into that stand, building one section on top of another, all the way up. While I had the trees standing up in just a few minutes, it’s the fluffing that definitely takes time! The Balsam Hill tree already looked pretty full without any fluffing, but I did take about ten minutes to go around and fluff each branch to get it looking really lush. They even provide two pairs of gloves to wear when doing this!

The Target tree was pretty sad looking when I initially set it up, with the branches all smooshed together. It took me about twenty minutes to fluff up each one and separate the branches.

The “Realness”

  • Balsam Hill Tree: 5/5
  • Target Tree: 2/5

Balsam Hill Tree

The Balsam Hill tree is unlike any other faux Christmas tree I’ve ever used before. Instead of each needle and branch being the exact same dark-green color, it mimics the color and texture of real Evergreen branches. The branches are light green with light brown stems and the color isn’t exactly the same throughout.  There is a variation in the green color.  The needles are life-like too. With a teardrop shape and semi-flat needles, they’re actually molded from real Balsam Fir branches!  If you want to check out the “realness” for yourself (before investing in an entire tree) you can order a sample box of 25 branches. I actually might order these to use as decor around the house for Christmas.

Tree from target

The look of the Target tree is one I’m more familiar with. The branches are all the same dark green color and it has a plastic-like texture. While it’s not “bad”, it was eyeopening to see it next to the other tree.

The Lights

  • Balsam Hill Tree: 5/5
  • Target Tree: 3/5

Both trees came pre-lit with clear lights. They also each have only one plug that goes into the wall, lighting up the entire tree, with the lights connecting at the pole. But there were some differences in quality…

Lights on a Balsam Hill Christmas tree

The Balsam Hill tree has LED lights which might make you assume it would give off a blue tone. Luckily, they’re designed to look like candlelight to emit a soft warm glow. This tree has a light count of 900, so it’s fairly bright. One touch plug

It also came with an on/off foot pedal to control the lights. So instead of unplugging it every day, you can just step right on it to turn the tree on and off. So convenient!

Lights on the Target tree

The Target tree has clear incandescent bulbs with a light bulb count of 500.

The Target tree has a traditional plug that goes into the wall. So, you would need an extension cord if you wanted to have more convenience turning it on and off.  In the past, Finn and I have plugged our trees into smart outlets so we can simply tell our Alexa to turn the Christmas tree on and off each day. That would be a must for this setup.

The Accessories

  • Balsam Hill Tree: 5/5
  • Target Tree: 0/5

This is actually an interesting category because I’ve never known trees to come with any accessories! The Target tree was just the tree in a large box, which is what I expected. Finn and I have always had to buy separate Christmas tree bags for storage because there is usually no way in hell you can fit the tree back into the cardboard box. Accessories with the Balsam Hill tree

The Balsam Hill tree comes with three separate bags – one for the tree stand, one for the bottom portion of the tree, and one for the top portion of the tree. This makes carrying it more manageable than putting it all into one ginormous bag! As I mentioned before, it also comes with two pairs of gloves that you can use when fluffing!

Overall Score

Christmas tree reviewBalsam Hill Tree: 4/5

I’m going with a 4 out of 5 for the Balsam Hill tree. The quality is exceptional and it looks sooooo real! I deducted one point because it is definitely pricey for a Christmas tree. But I do believe that you would save money in the long-run, buying this tree. Making an investment in a quality faux Christmas tree now would save you from having to buy a new one every few years, plus, there is no need to buy a Christmas tree bag for storage. (I think ours have cost about $75-$100) Overall, I am so impressed with this faux Christmas tree!

Target Tree: 2/5

If I wouldn’t have had to compare the Target tree to anything else, it probably would have scored higher, but next to the Balsam Hill tree it really doesn’t even compare. It looks fake and the quality is noticeably different. Is it a bad tree? Not at all! It certainly gets the job done and at a reasonable price point. But will it last forever? I doubt it.

Christmas Sneak Peek

Our Christmas Tree

I ended up using the Balsam Hill Christmas tree for our Holiday Gift Guide photo shoot and…WOWZA! It turned out gorgeous. With some ribbon, ornaments, and a gorgeous tree topper it quickly turned into a stunner.

I’ll have more photos of this tree coming to the blog at a more appropriate holiday time (It is only October!), but I figured I’d share a few of these pretty pictures here with you now!

My plan is to put this Christmas tree up in our front window after Thanksgiving (we usually put our tree up the Saturday after the holiday) and I’ll have it decorated with curated ornaments. Then, I may put the Target tree somewhere else in the house and decorate it with “fun” ornaments. We’ll see…

Comparing faux Christmas trees

If you’re in need of a new faux Christmas tree this year, I hope this post was helpful! I didn’t even know that I should be looking at stats like light bulb count and width! Hopefully, you can find the perfect tree now so it arrives in time to put it up at the end of November or early December. Until then…back to all things FALL!!!


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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