Which artificial Christmas tree rated best?

Which artificial Christmas tree rated best? »Play Video
Is it real, or is it fake? These days, from a distance, it's harder than ever to tell. A good artificial tree can almost pass for a real one.

Most artificial trees range in price from about $70 to $400. Although, if you want to go top of the line, expect to spend a lot more.

"Some of them were very good and some of them weren't so good," said Todd Kent with the Good Housekeeping Institute.

"We tested these trees for durability and flammability. Some of the trees were much easier to tip over than others," Kent said.

"All the trees, though, did pass our flammability test and don't pose a hazard for catching on fire. We had some consumers come in and score them for appearance as well, telling us what they looked for in a Christmas tree. "

Good Housekeeping found two artificial trees that shined bright: Panelists chose the $800 Balsam Hill as their favorite because of its rich green color and the natural looking fall of the branches.

"The tree is full. I love the fact that the needles are thick," said Nicole Larson, who helped evaluate the trees. "You can't see the trunk of the tree. It looks like a natural tree."

The GE Just Cut Fraser Fir from Lowe's was the best value at just $300.

"Consumers really liked the plentiful lighting on the GE tree," Kent said. They also liked the lighted connection at the top of the tree for hooking in an electrical ornament, and the foot pedal that helps turn on and off the lights."

And it's easy to take down the tree. The trunk seperates into sections, and you can fold up the hinged branches.

Most artificial trees now come pre-wired, so you need to look at a sample that's turned on before you buy.

And check to see if the lights stay on when you take out one bulb. On some artificial trees all the lights will go out.

Artificial trees can still tip over, just like a real one, so you need to be careful with kids and pets around. And Good Housekeeping says in many cases it takes two people to take apart a fake tree. Because it can be hard to squeeze the trees back into their original boxes or bags, Good Housekeeping says it's a good idea to buy storage bags or containers to put them in at the end of the season.

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Best Artificial Christmas Trees