You may find artificial Christmas trees that are made with other materials, but there are basically two materials that are used to make these trees – PVC and PE. PVC is the acronym for polyvinyl chloride and PE for polyethylene. Both are types of plastic polymer and they are by far the most common materials used in the manufacture of artificial trees, wreaths, and other similar products. Let’s take a look at these two types of materials – their differences and their similarities.
Of the two types of material, PVC is definitely used more often than PE. It has been around for a longer time and this is one reason that it is used on more trees. Compressed PVC is cut into tiny, flat strips of material to closely resemble the needles of a real Christmas tree. They are flat but they tend to have pointy tips that can prickle you if you touch them. The tiny artificial needles are then affixed to the branches of the tree to give it a more lifelike appearance. PVC is very flexible and durable, and these qualities make it well-suited to be used in the construction of needles.
PE has only recently been used in making the needles of artificial trees, so it is not as commonly found as PVC. The needles that are made with PE are 3-dimensional and much more realistic than those made with PVC. The branches on PE trees are molded so that they look like real wood and, together with the lifelike appearance of the needles, these qualities tend to make the tree quite realistic. The needles don’t bend as easily as the ones made of PVC but they are softer to the touch and get major brownie points for looking so real.
The type of tree you will choose is totally dependent on your personal preference, as both trees have their advantages. PVC trees are cheaper, more flexible, and are available in more varieties while PE trees are more real-looking, softer to the touch, and more visually stunning. PE trees do cost more however, and this will be a factor for many people. But if you are out to get the most realistic looking tree and have the budget for it, PE is definitely the way to go.
I would like to add that PE trees will most times also include PVC as fillers to give them a fuller, more natural look while keeping the PE exterior of the tree for a more realistic appearance. Whimsical as well as colored artificial trees do not typically use either of these materials because it is not important that they appear to be lifelike. Instead, a lighter form of plastic called tinsel is usually used to make those types of trees.
Despite their differences, both PVC and PE trees will certainly be able to add more Christmas cheer to your home and, as they are both durable and reusable, you will be able to enjoy either one with your loved ones year after year.