Timeless Holiday Decor in a Lot Less Time: A Balsam Hill Flip Tree Review
With two patents for its unique, ultra-user-friendly design, this beautifully sturdy tree rolls, flips, and saves a ton of time.
Decorating for the holidays is no small chore. Outside, lights sparkle on greenery and trees and familiar holiday motifs–candy canes, reindeer, mistletoe, and more—adorn windows and lawns. Inside, garland wraps around stair rails and drapes mantels, and the trees … oh, the trees.
I’ve always been more of a minimalist when it comes to decorating for the holidays, content to appreciate the decorating efforts of my friends and family, including the thousands of lights, countless knickknacks, tiny Christmas villages, and even multiple trees in some households. My family was a one-big-tree household. (We did have a small “kid” tree.)
Being the lazy holiday decorator that I am, I was excited to try out a Balsam Hill Flip Tree for our Best Artificial Christmas Trees guide and see if setting it up was as easy as the videos made it look. After all, I—like everyone else—have better things to do than fluff and shape an artificial tree for an hour, let alone multiple trees.
Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Flip Tree: At a Glance
- Height: 6.5, 7.5, 9, or 10 feet
- Tree type: Fraser fir
- Lighting: Prelit
- Proprietary flip technology makes for quick and easy setup in mere minutes
- 900 LED lights and a remote control; lighting is ample, even, and easy
- Offers a stunningly realistic look ideal for those who prefer a real tree
- Includes several helpful extras: gloves for tree fluffing, remote for lights, and storage bags
- Wheeled base makes it easy to move from room to room
- Very heavy at 74 pounds; best stored in the off-season near where it will be displayed
- Only the bottom-most branches are strong enough for weighty ornaments
What is the Balsam Hill Fraser Fir Flip Tree?
The Flip Tree is specially designed for easy transport and rapid setup. The base branches flip upside down so that they naturally compress for storage into the included canvas bag. When they’re flipped right side up, they fall back into place. Because the branches aren’t manually compressed into a storage box, they require minimal fluffing upon setup. The base of the tree also includes locking wheels to make it easy to push from room to room.
The Fraser Fir Flip Tree, consistent with the quality of the Balsam Hill brand, features natural-looking needles, a full silhouette, and an abundance of lights. It includes clear lights, a combination of colored and clear lights, or Twinkly light show lights, which offer multiple colors and display settings through the Twinkly app. The number of lights varies based on the tree height (four sizes are available) and the lighting type chosen. Lights connect through the tree’s trunk, so you don’t have to search for outlets amid prickly branches, and are controlled via remote.
Balsam Hill’s flip trees are also available in a variety of tree types including redwood spruce and noble fir. Shapes vary between slim and full.
Speedy Setup, Beautiful Boughs
The ease of setup advertised for this tree was not just marketing hype: I was able to set up the tree in less than 10 minutes. I rolled it out of the box into place, removed the storage bag, locked the wheels, stepped on the release pedal, grabbed the bottom of the trunk, and pushed the tree down, securing it in place
Of course, fluffing took more time but was made much more comfortable thanks to the included gloves. Once I was done shaping and fluffing, I found this Fraser fir quite lovely. Not only did it have ample foliage, but the foliage itself beautifully imitated real fir needles. This faux fir’s needles are molded, and their undersides are a silvery green, lending a pristinely lifelike look to this tree.
The drawback to the flip mechanism and the wheeled base, unfortunately, is that there is a large gap between the bottom of the tree and the floor. However, once I put a skirt at the bottom and decorated the tree, I barely noticed the gap. Plus, it does allow more room for presents!
Even with the large gap, this tree still boasts more than 3,400 branch tips—a considerable amount more than the 2,500 branch tips on comparably sized Christmas trees. The 900 candlelight clear LEDs on this 7.5-foot test tree also illuminated all those gorgeous needles with a perfect glow.
Sturdy Yet Delicate Design
Given this tree’s ability to flip on itself and its wheeled base, I was curious to see how stable it was. After pushing on the pole, bumping into it, and reaching under it, I found it to be a sturdy tree. As expected, the top piece wavered a bit, but it always came back to center. It would definitely be capable of withstanding a few eager children grabbing presents.
Overall stability was just one type of stability I tested. I also wanted to know how well it held a tree topper and how well it held heavy ornaments. I’ve spent close to 30 minutes securing and straightening toppers in the past and finding just the right branches to hold some of my heavy ceramic ornaments, and I had high hopes for this tree.
There were three branches of varying lengths at the top of the tree. The wires underneath the needles were significantly sturdier than many other artificial tree tops, and I easily slid a wire star topper over the tallest branch tip. The tall branch supported the topper without needing any adjustments—it was practically a Christmas miracle.
Unfortunately, the rest of the tree branches lacked the sturdiness of those on top. Under the weight of my heavier ornaments, the branches sagged quite a bit. I did find that the best bet to hang weighty ornaments on this tree was to place them toward the bottom where longer, thicker branches supported the ornaments from below.
Simple Disassembly and Storage
I took this tree down and put it in its included storage bags in about 10 minutes. The branches required minimal compressing to fit back into the bags, which was a huge time-saver. The wheels took a bit more time traversing plush carpet, which still beat carrying the tree. As expected, though, they smoothly glided across my hardwood floors.
While taking the tree down and bagging it is a breeze, placing it in storage is not—unless you can store this tree on the same floor where it’s displayed. Unfortunately, I don’t have a place to store this tree on my main floor, so I had to take it down to the basement. It was a cumbersome two-person job, but at least it only needed to be carried on the stairs, not across the whole house.
Is the Balsam Hill Flip Tree worth it?
Absolutely, particularly for Christmas decor enthusiasts who have some moolah to spend. It’s not a cheap tree, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a tree that is this beautiful and this easy to put up and take down, especially if you can store it on the same floor that you display it on.
However, Balsam Hill also has dozens of trees at various price points. I also tested the company’s prelit Classic Blue Spruce, which retails at $549 for the 7-foot version. It offers a full profile, abundant lighting, gloves, and a storage bag just like the flip tree, though the needles are flat instead of molded. It’s also a beautiful tree at less than half the price, and it held heavy ornaments anywhere on the tree just fine.
While the flip tree is a splurge, this tree truly offers a stunningly realistic look and a unique, time-saving setup.
Meet the Tester
As an editor at BobVila.com, Beth Cranston designs the testing guidelines for the product reviews team, having developed parameters for more than 300 product categories. She is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience, with a focus on all things home since 2017, covering everything from kitchen design ideas to electrical plans. While her collection of Christmas decor isn’t vast, she loves what she has and wants readers to find products that they’ll love too.