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How to choose the best Christmas tree stand, plus 7 top-rated picks to shop

Show off your Christmas tree in all its merriment, while keeping it supported and hydrated.
Christmas Tree
Kara Birnbaum / TODAY ; Amazon

We are just over a month out from Christmas, and between Black Friday sales and the arrival of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, we are already feeling the holiday spirit. And if you're anything like us, one of our favorite holiday traditions is, of course, decorating our very own tree. Whether you're team real or team artificial tree, the holiday staple can really pull together the festive spirit of your home.

From ornaments you collected throughout the years to topping it off with an illuminated star, a lot goes into making your tree shine in all of its merriment. However, if you are going the real tree route, one of the most important elements isn't the number of twinkling lights, experts say it's having a sturdy base to keep it safely supported and fully thriving.

How to choose a Christmas tree stand

So how do you know which stand is best for your real Christmas tree? Shop TODAY reached out to the National Christmas Tree Association for some helpful tips that can help you make the right decision. When shopping for a proper stand for your newly purchased fir, National Christmas Tree Association Executive Director Tim O'Connor explains that you'll want to find one that holds plenty of water and that's a good enough size to offer your tree the best support. He also mentions that metal and plastic are equally adequate.

"Either type of stand can be good – choose one that is stable and holds a good water supply. The rest is really a personal preference," said O'Connor.

According to the NCTA website, a stand should be able to provide one quart of water for every inch of the stem's diameter. They also mention on the site, the outer bark is the layer that efficiently absorbs the most water, so you'll want to avoid trimming the stump to fit the base.

Christmas tree care tips

Once you have your tree, there are a couple of things you'll want to keep in mind, even before you bring it into your home.

  • Check your tree for critters: Before you bring the tree through the door, you'll want to check it for any bugs, including praying mantis nests. O'Connor says the best way to do this is either with a visual inspection or to ask the retailer where you purchased it if they offer a tree-shaking service. If you find a praying mantis nest, O'Connor suggests simply removing it from the branch since it will hatch once it's in a warm home.
  • Water daily: Keeping your tree hydrated is essential. The NCTA website states you'll want to make sure the water level doesn't fall below the base of the tree and avoid placing it near high sources of heat (like fire places and furnaces). Also, the site mentions a lower room temperature will slow down the drying process.
  • Use low-heat lights: Another way to keep your tree from drying out is to use lights that don't get too hot and to always turn them off when you're asleep or not home, says the NCTA.

Whether you're online shopping for an artificial tree or browsing the new tree lots popping up in your town, we've rounded up some of the best tree stands on the market. We chose these options based on expert information and consumer reviews.

Best Christmas tree stands for real trees

Krinner Tree Genie Metal Christmas Tree Stand

This highly-rated tree stand checks off all the boxes on durability and water storage. According to the brand, the reservoir can hold up to 1.2 gallons of water (in size medium) and features a claw technology to secure the tree in place, no matter the size of the trunk.

One Amazon reviewer loved how fast it was to set up, "I had the tree off the top of the car, in the tree stand, and fully set up and secured before my wife even had the three kids out of the car and into the house. It was so fast and so easy and worth the upgrade alone."

Lowe's Metal 12-ft Tree Stand

The brand says this will be the last tree stand you'll ever buy, in fact, it's even a Lowe's bestseller with nearly a five-star rating. Holding up to 1.7 gallons of water, the brand says the steel legs and anchors provide extra support and can fit tree trunks up to seven inches wide.

Cinco Express Christmas Tree Stand

This plastic option is not only extremely affordable but also holds an impressive amount of water – up to 1.2 gallons. According to the brand, it has a patented reservoir with a spill guard to protect your floor from accidental splashes and a push-pull lock system to ensure your tree stands tall.

The Holiday Aisle Large One-Gallon Christmas Tree Stand

This large plastic tree stand features five bolts to secure the stump and a one gallon reservoir. It has an over 4.7 average star rating on Wayfair and one reviewer likes the size of it, "I still had no problem getting my tree skirt around it. It also holds plenty of water so you don’t have to fill it multiple times a day."

Christmas tree stands for artificial trees

National Tree Company 24-Inch Metal Stand

An artificial tree will be with you for years so you'll want to get a sturdy stand to keep it in tip-top shape. This affordable option has over 2,400 five-star ratings on Amazon and reviewers said it was extremely stable. One verified reviewer had to replace their original stand and wrote, "This worked out perfectly for our artificial tree...It is sturdy, holds the tree well, and folds up nicely for easy storage."

Home Heritage Electric Rotating Tree Stand (7-Feet)

Show off your entire tree and all the hard work you put into it with this artificial tree stand, which has the option to rotate 360 degrees. From classic black to festive red, you can choose from different colors to match your decor or tree color.

Home Heritage Circular Electric Rotating Tree Stand (9-Feet)

This stand is so elegant you can ditch the tree skirt. According to the brand, this stand rotates 360 degrees, comes with three attachments for different-sized trunks and can support up to 120 pounds. It may be a splurge but reviewers loved being able to show off their tree in all its glory. One reviewer wrote, "I put my tree up and couldn't be happier! It rotates smoothly and so far, no noise to speak of. Seems really sturdy, the tree looks great!"