Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Review & Comparison

We’ve long had a tradition of cutting down a Christmas tree every year, and it’s something we look forward to each Thanksgiving weekend. In recent years I’ve wanted to add more trees to my Christmas decor…pre-lit and super easy to put up. So, imagine my excitement when Balsam Hill approached me to do a review of one of their trees, along with a comparison review of a tree from another store!

I’ve heard so much about their trees, and how realistic they are. I was eager to put that to the test, especially since we are accustomed to real trees. For a true comparison, they also sent me another tree to review–one as similar as possible from Target. I’m sharing pictures, my experiences setting them up, and how they matched up, side-by-side.

Thanks to Balsam Hill for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

I knew I was looking for a tree to go in this room–our library–so I chose the Balsam Hill 7.5 foot Frosted Balsam Fir. For comparison, I chose the same tree–a 7 foot Frosted Balsam Fir by Target’s Wondershop. (They didn’t offer a 7.5 foot option.)

Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Review

The Balsam Hill tree arrived in two boxes, so I knew it was going to be good-sized. When I opened them up, the tree was in sections, wrapped neatly with red ribbon, and tagged so I could easily see which section came first.

I’ve never had a pre-lit tree, so I didn’t have any previous experience putting one up, and really appreciated the very thorough instructions that came in the box.

Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Review

I was immediately impressed by a couple of different things. First of all, it was just SO EASY. This tree came with EASY PLUG™ SETUP, which I didn’t know about ahead of time, but it means that all you have to do is plug the tree in to the wall. All the lights are connected through the trunk, so there are no ends to find and match up and connect. When you put it together, you plug it in first, so you can see how the lights are placed, and then as you add sections, they automatically light up!

I chose the LED candlelight lights for my tree, but there are so many different options: color, different LED bulbs, fairy lights, twinkly lights, fiber optics, and more. You can really have the tree that you love!

Setting it up is easy too. Just add one section at a time, fluff and separate the branches, then repeat until they’re all on. The tree even comes with these handy gloves to wear while you’re working with the tree, and I loved them.

Now let’s talk about the tree itself. We’ve cut down many, many real trees over the years, and been to a lot of tree farms, and I couldn’t believe how realistic our tree was when I saw it. After I put up the second tree, it became even more noticeable, and there really was no comparison. The detail in the needles is incredible, and if I hadn’t already known that the tree wasn’t real, I wouldn’t have guessed. They use True Needle™ foliage (83%) with Classic Needles (17%) for fullness.

A little flocking dusted on to the floor while we were setting up! It’s really easy to vacuum up, and if you don’t have a flocked tree, then it would be a non-issue.

Simply put, it’s a gorgeous, full tree. This 7.5 tree is a full 60 inches around, has a 900 light count, and more than 5700 branch tips. I’m totally in love.

To add to its ease of use, the tree has an awesome light switch that you can press with your foot or your hand…no more climbing behind the tree to unplug it!

And when you’re ready to take the tree down to store it until the next year, it comes with the best storage bags. Mine came with three…two for the tree itself, and a smaller third bag for accessories. I love love that it doesn’t have to be stored in the boxes.

Target Wondershop Christmas Tree Review

I was eager to set this tree up and really get a sense of comparison between the two trees. The very first thing I noticed is that it came in only one box. There is only a 6 inch difference in height between the two trees, so I could tell right away that it was going to be smaller.

It was also very easy to put together, came with a simple instruction sheet, and the lights worked in the same way, in that each section would light up as soon as you placed it in the trunk once you plugged it in. However, the only way to turn it off and on is the plug itself.

It was easy to fluff and separate as well, and it was quite a quick process. I realized very quickly that there were nowhere as many branches or lights, and more sparse compared to the Balsam Hill tree. The shape is nice, but it’s definitely thinner and not as full or wide around. This tree has 350 lights, is 48 inches around, and 1419 tree tips.

I really like the color of the lights on this tree. They’re warm and cozy, and I actually prefer their color over the Balsam Hill lights. However, they are not LED lights, so bulbs will need to be replaced much more quickly.

I was disappointed that it didn’t come with any kind of storage bag–it had to go back into the box, which I think is awkward and difficult to store. Or, it means I’ll need to purchase a large tree storage bag, which is what I’ll probably do.

Balsam Hill Christmas Tree Review: Side-by-side Comparison

Balsam Hill Frosted Balsam Fir

  • More than 3x the amount of branch needles–very full
  • True Needle™ technology… extremely realistic needles and branches
  • Nearly 3x more lights, with Easy Plug™ setup–lights automatically come on as you add sections, once it’s plugged in
  • LED Candlelight Lighting
  • 12 inches wider around
  • Storage bags for tree and accessories included
  • Protective gloves included for easy and comfortable setup
  • Easy on/off switch…no climbing behind the tree
  • 7.5 feet, $999 retail price (other sizes available)
  • Comes with a 3 year warranty–complete coverage

Target Wondershop Frosted Balsam Fir

  • Incandescent lighting
  • Simple and easy to set up–lights go on as you add sections
  • Gorgeous light color, warm and cozy
  • No storage bag or accessories included
  • No easy off/on switch–plug only
  • Less expensive…$300 retail price
  • Comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, but I couldn’t find a warranty

Overall, my choice would definitely be the Balsam Hill tree. The amount of lights and branch tips, the fullness and the incredible realness of the tree all made a difference—and then seeing them side-by-side really sealed the deal.

There is a big price difference, and normally I’m a budget girl. But I also appreciate a good deal, and there are some things that are worth investing in. Buying such a high quality, beautiful tree, with so many lovely features and useable accessories may be worth the extra cost.

However, I really do love the Target tree too. In fact, I love it so much in my bedroom that I don’t want to take it down in January! The light color is gorgeous—so cozy and homey, and it’s a great tree if you’re looking at that price point.

You can find a complete selection of their trees on the Balsam Hill website, and they also have blog that includes buyers’ guides and decorating tips!

If you have any questions, please let me know!

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14 Comments

  1. The Balsam Hill tree is beautiful, but it is way too large for my small home, and way to expensive for my small budget…so I would buy the Target tree.

  2. Both of those are very nice looking.

    Hubby and I used to cut trees (we live in Oregon for heavens sake), but it became difficult to find a tree I was happy with. We bought an artificial and never looked back. We’ve owned a few, the newer ones better than previous, and have become experienced at fluffing. lol

    When our last tree started looking sad, I convinced hubby to invest in Balsam Hill. We bought an unlit. There were some issues with it ((missing parts), but customer service was fantastic.

    That said, I’m not as happy with the tree as I’d hoped to be. Maybe there’s a learning curve in getting to look “right”. We’ll see what happens this year.

    1. Good luck with “fluffing” this year, Carole!! This is a first for me, so I’m looking forward to figuring it out too!

  3. We just purchased our Balsam Hill Tree on sale the day after Christmas. We are from Maine, so, I kind of went kicking and screaming all the way on artificial But…we have always had a real tree, and being from Maine, always bought our tree from local vendors that sell perfect tree farm trees. This year, our 47th Christmas together, we were not happy with our tree at all. We practically had to scoop the dropped balsam needles from the floor. The tree did not drink from day one and usually, a tree will drink a quart or more a day if fresh. We paid more for this real tree than any tree we have ever bought. We only had the tree in the house for 14 days…so, we decided we are done. I ordered the Balsam Hill tree the day after Christmas and it arrived on December 30th, I was impressed with that. Then on the 31st we decided to open the box and inspect the contents. Everything was there and it looked great. Later that night, last night, we decided to put it together just in case there was something wrong. If so it would be easier to fix than next year! The tree went together so easily and perfectly I could not believe it. It looks so real that you have to touch and inspect closely to be sure. We bought the unlit Frasier Fir. I really had to struggle to not put it in place and decorate it! Fluffing was very easy if you are patient and do it right…yes each branch needs to be fluffed, but that is no big deal at all. In an hour it looked perfect. So…we decided to leave it together and store it in our studio (we are pro photographers). We put it behind our hanging backgrounds and will be able to pull it out quickly and use it for portraits if someone wants to do their Christmas Family portraits in July to stay ahead of the game! I can’t wait for next Christmas to put the tree up…now likely right after Thanksgiving! This tree puts to shame the other fake skinny tree that we have in our office! Maybe next year we will get the Balsam Hill skinny tree too!!! This tree is everything the website says it is and I would highly recommend it to anyone who cares about how their tree looks. I bet no one will even know that it is not our usual real tree…now to find a great balsam soy candle!!!

    1. I love this, thank you so much for sharing!! And you’re so smart to have it up all year for photo shoots. I end up taking mine out again during the year, and would love to be able to keep a tree up the entire year!

  4. I have had a fake “real” tree for several years that was not a Balsam Hill. I bought one as a gift this past Christmas after hearing how “realistic” the Balsam Hilli was and was sadly disappointed with the “realness” and the quality. I had a wobbly tree and it did not fit the space well at all. The worst part was it was purchased on the 20th of December, arrived on the 23rd (that was quick), given as a gift and set up on the 24th…to be taken down less than an hour later because it did not fit and was wobbly and attempted to be returned on the 26th…Oops! It was after Christmas, so not returnable. Honestly, I did not pay close attention to the return policy because it was ordered so late and I figured with COVID and everything else that it would not arrive until after Christmas, but I wanted to at least set it up before decorations were taken down and see if it would work. My mistake! Now I am stuck with a wobbly tree that they are replacing….not holding out high hope on the sturdiness of it, even though it is not a fit for the space. I would not recommend these trees to anyone….they really do not look much different than what you find at the local department stores and the return policy is not remotely comparable to other online companies that sell “realistic” trees.

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