Deciding to get an artificial tree for Christmas is just the first step; next, you will need to consider how realistic you want your tree to look.
Some Christmas trees are made with materials like tinsel. This type of plastic is mostly used for colored trees designed to clearly show they are artificial.
On the other hand, the materials most often used for lifelike trees are PVC (poly vinyl chloride) and PE (poly ethylene), both being a type of plastic polymer; read more about the similarities and differences between the two on http://xmastree.express/materials-used/.
PVC versus PE trees
- PVC is easy to shape and has been the material of choice for a long time. Still widely used today, PVC is both flexible and durable, and when compressed and cut into tiny strips, it looks like real Christmas tree needles. You can easily recognize them by their flat bodies and pointy tips.
Nonetheless, PVC needles can be made into different thicknesses, so that when layered together, the branches look rounded, just like real ones. Moreover, PVC trees usually come with an extended warranty on their needles, which attests to the durability of this type of plastic.
- PE trees, on the other hand, are a more recent invention, and one that goes beyond just the needles to the branches as well. PE needles and branches are considerably more realistic looking since they are 3-dimensional, mimicking real foliage and real wood. Although less flexible, PE needles are actually softer than PVC ones.
Often, a high quality artificial Christmas tree will be made with both PE and PVC, but in different amounts. Thus, you can find PVC fillers in PE trees since the poly vinyl chloride gives them a fuller look. PE branches use actual tree branches as their molding, and for the most natural effect, they are combined with PVC material. The end result is an artificial Christmas tree that it’s difficult to tell from a real tree.
The bottom line is, choose your artificial tree according to the effect you want to get and your budget. If you plan to go the traditional way (insofar as artificial trees go), then a PVC model will be your best bet. PVC has many advantages, including a wide variety and a lower price tag, while PE is softer and more real-looking, even though it costs more.