[VIDEO] Unlit vs Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Trees: A Comparison

A Christmas tree plays a role in many holiday traditions, so it’s important that you find the right one for you. When deciding on your tree, there are many factors to consider–real or artificial, PE or PVC, and more. In this article, we help you choose between unlit and pre-lit artificial Christmas trees. Watch brand spokesperson Jen Lutz as she shares the key differences between the two.

4 Differences Between Unlit vs Pre-lit Artificial Christmas Trees
1. Versatility
2. Convenience
3. Variety
4. Cost Efficiency

1. Versatility

unlit Christmas tree An unlit Christmas tree caters to those who prefer a more natural look and want to have total control over their tree lights. Display your tree without lights and simply add ornaments, or choose everything from the light type, color, and number of bulbs—the choice is yours. Purchasing a tree without lights gives you a blank canvas to express your creativity.

On the other hand, a pre-lit artificial Christmas tree comes with pre-strung lights, so you won’t be able to customize them every year. However, some trees have color-changing lights that switch between clear, multicolored, alternating clear and multi, or no lights on. This gives you the chance to change the look of your lights while saving you the trouble of putting them up and taking them down each season.

2. Convenience

pre-lit Christmas treeUnlit trees generally take more time to set up and store, and they run the risk of tangled wires and broken bulbs. You also need more technical knowledge when deciding on the type of Christmas lights and how many strings to use. If you plan to do it yourself, watch our video for tips on how to put lights on your Christmas tree.

Unlike unlit trees, a pre-lit tree is almost completely ready to go from the moment it comes out of the box. This saves you the time and effort of stringing lights yourself. All you need to do is plug in your tree and fluff its branches to achieve a full look. Then complete your display with your favorite ornaments, trim, and tree topper.

WATCH: How to Put Lights on a Christmas Tree

3. Variety

Tree Classics' Fraser Fir Tree in Unlit, Clear, and Multicolor
Tree Classics’ Frasier Fir Tree in Unlit, Clear, and Multicolor

Both unlit and pre-lit Christmas trees are available in a wide range of options. Choose the tree size, shape, and needle type that best suits your home—be it a 10-foot tree with a full profile or a 7.5-foot space saver. When it comes to pre-lit trees, you also have your pick of light types and colors, whether you prefer classic clear lights, festive multicolor, or even a combination of both in one tree.

READ MORE: How to Choose the Perfect Christmas Tree for Your Home

4. Cost Efficiency

Pre-lit Christmas treeIn terms of initial investment, unlit trees are the budget-friendly choice, but the cost goes up as you add lights. If you aren’t familiar with light counts, types, and lengths, buying Christmas lights in addition to your unlit tree may turn out to be more expensive than purchasing a pre-lit one. Keeping multiple light strands plugged in at the same time also consumes more electricity compared to a pre-lit tree with a single plug.

Pre-lit trees may cost more outright, but these allow you to save time and energy. To get the most value for your money, opt for an LED tree that consumes less electricity and will last you many seasons. Some pre-lit trees also feature technology that allows the rest of the bulbs to stay lit even if one burns out. In case of defective or broken lights, pre-lit trees come with warranties that cover repairs or replacements when needed.

READ MORE: Best Times to Buy an Artificial Christmas Tree

Jen Lutz with Tree Classics trees
Jen with the 7.5-foot pre-lit Majestic Blue Spruce (left) and 7.5-foot unlit Kennedy Fir (right)

Whether you like to keep it simple or love to play around with creative decorations, knowing the pros and cons of different Christmas tree types can help you choose that perfect centerpiece. Head on over to Tree Classics and find the best deals on our unlit and pre-lit artificial Christmas trees.

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Click here to read the full video transcript


Jen Lutz: Hi guys. I’m Jen for Tree Classics. It’s great to be with you today. If you’re with me today I’m assuming you’re in the market for an artificial Christmas tree. We’re going to talk about what to look for when you’re shopping for a tree. Today my topic is pre-lit versus unlit Christmas trees. We’re going to discuss the pros and the cons.

To help you out, I have two of our Tree Classics trees with us. This is a seven-and-a-half-foot pre-lit Blue Spruce, and then I have a seven-and-a-half-foot unlit Kennedy Fir. The great thing about an unlit tree is if you’re looking for a more natural look, you’ve got it. You can leave the tree without lights. It also gives you more control on the number and the type of lights you want.

If you like the larger bulb lights, if you like smaller twinkle lights, white, color, that sort of thing, number of lights, you have more control with an unlit tree. I actually did a video about stringing lights on Christmas trees which you can link to in this blog post. I go through the different ways you can string the lights on the tree, as well as our recommended number of lights to string on a tree. You can link to that here. I think one of the cons that you have to think about is storing these trees at the end of the season and making sure that these light bulbs don’t break. I think also with an unlit tree, when you put lights on, you definitely end up with more cords.

With a pre-lit tree, one of the great things—I’m going to give myself away here. I definitely probably fall into—I really love a pre-lit tree because of the ease of assembling. Once you take apart—This particular tree came in three pieces, I put them together, I plugged two strands of lights into the center lights, I plugged it in and after I fluff it really the tree is ready to go. I just worry about unplugging it, storing it properly, and then putting it back together the next year.

When we’re talking unlit versus pre-lit and the other thing you want to think about is variety. Actually with the pre-lit tree, you do have a lot of variety. At Tree Classics, we offer lights that are incandescent, LED lights, white lights, multicolored lights.

The other thing is at treeclassics.com, we really break down for you what type of tree you’re looking for. You can go online, and you can choose the shape and the style, the type of needles you want, the height of the tree, and the type of lights. They’ll filter for you what trees you should be looking at, which is really helpful.

Finally, let’s talk budget when you’re purchasing an unlit versus a pre-lit. Honestly, out of the gate an unlit is definitely initially going to be less money, especially if you like a really simple tree with either no lights or a few decorations.

Of course the cost is going to go up as you add lights, as you add decor, that sort of thing. The cost will definitely go up with an unlit tree, but out of the gate, definitely less expensive. You have to think too if you’re going to put your own lights on, you are going to end up having more lights plugged in and that could increase your electrical bill. If you’re going to go with the pre-lit, if you choose something like an LED tree, those light bulbs last longest and are the most cost-effective. Time is money. With a pre-lit tree, you’re going to spend less time putting lights on and putting it together. You’re going to have cost savings as far as your time and work go.

Guys, whether you like to keep it simple during the holidays or you really love to decorate and go all out, knowing the difference between unlit versus pre-lit will hopefully help you make the best decision when you’re purchasing a Christmas tree. Again, I’m Jen with Tree Classics. It’s been great to be with you. Happy Holidays and happy shopping.


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