Let’s take a moment to talk Christmas tree needle quality. Needle quality will determine how long your tree investment will last. The higher the quality, the longer you will be enjoying your tree. It will also determine how realistic your tree will look. There are three major needle types used in making artificial Christmas trees: PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PE (polyethylene) and Real Feel (or Feel Real or True Needle depending on the manufacturer).
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) needles are made from a vinyl material. They are pressed together into very thin pieces and then cut into stripes to resemble pine needles. These types of needles feel paper-like to the touch. These were the first type of needles manufactured for the artificial Christmas tree.
Due to their paper-like quality, these needles are low on the quality list. They often fall off of the tree when assembling, decorating, and taking the tree down.
These types of needles lack a look of realism thus making the artificial Christmas tree look, well, artificial.
PE (polyethylene) needles are made from a plastic material. This plastic material is molded into polymer needles and then cut into shapes of needles. They are thicker and, when created into branches, give the tree a fuller look.
This type of needles appear more realistic than PVC needles. PE needles are also more durable do to the material used and thickness of the needles.
These type of needles are made from the combination of both materials. Artificial tree manufacturers may also use PVC needles on the inside of the tree while using PE needles on the branches of the tree.
This combination of needle types gives the tree a more filled-out look. The quality will totally depend on the ratio of each needle used in the manufacturing of the tree.
Real Feel Needles (including Feel Real and True Needle)
These types of needles are modified PE needles. They are designed to mimic the shape, colour and texture of the real tree. Each brand IE. Feel Real and True Needle use varying methods of reaching their standard of realism.
True Needle, designed by Balsam Hill, use combinations of pigments to acquire the natural colour of real firs. To make their trees appear more realistic, they also alter the colouring of branches to mimic the real thing.
If you have looked closely at a live fir tree, you may have noticed that the tree was not one shade of green but rather a few shades. This is due to sun exposure, element exposure, new growth on the tree and the maturity stage of the branches of the tree.
This type of manufactured needle makes the tree appear much more realistic than the traditional PVC manufactured trees.
The quality of tree will be dependent on the ratio of PVC and PE used in making the tree.
Choosing Your Christmas Tree
When you are choosing and deciding on what type of tree to get as the focal point of your holiday season, look for needle quality. Check the specs on the package on the suppliers’ website if you’re buying online.
Christmas tree needle quality varies and will, in turn, effect the pricing of the tree. PVC will be on the cheaper side and a combo PVC/PE will vary depending on the needle ratio used.