Which scented candle is best?
A few glowing candles can set the mood for a night of relaxation at home. If you’re striving for a certain ambiance, candles infused with a special fragrance may be the way to go. But which scent? The options are many, and you want to pick just the right one.
What to know before you buy a scented candle
Let’s explore the different considerations you should keep in mind when selecting scented candles. It’s not just about the fragrance; wax type, wick type, candle size, and burn time also come into play when shopping for quality scented candles.
First things first: you’re shopping for scented candles because you enjoy the fragrances and want the best for your money. So ask yourself what type of mood you want to create.
If you’re looking for a scented candle that can help soothe and relax you at bed or bath time, opt for a fragrance that features notes of lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, or sandalwood.
If you’re selecting a scented candle for an intimate dinner or anniversary celebration, choose a fragrance with notes of rose, lilac, jasmine, violet, vanilla, patchouli, ylang-ylang, or peony.
If you’re choosing a scented candle to help keep you focused on a project, select a fragrance with energetic notes of citrus, cinnamon, peppermint, ginger, or rosemary.
If you’re buying a scented candle for a holiday party or gathering, look for a fragrance with cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom, or woody notes.
It’s also a good idea to take the season into account when choosing a scented candle. Lighter scents like citrus or herbal fragrances work well in the spring and summer, while spicy, warm scents like cinnamon and vanilla are ideal for fall and winter.
Scented candles can be made with a variety of waxes. All wax types burn effectively, but you may enjoy one type over another depending on your personal preferences.
- Paraffin wax: Scented candles made of paraffin wax are common, largely because they’re inexpensive to make. However, paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, and some consumers have concerns about the safety and health risks posed by these candles. They are specifically known to cause issues for individuals with allergies. Scented paraffin wax candles don’t burn as cleanly as other options, but they do tend to give off a stronger fragrance than other types of wax candles.
- Soy wax: Scented candles made of soy wax consist of natural soybean oil. For some, this is the safer, healthier candle option. And because soy wax is also biodegradable and renewable, candles made of soy wax are friendlier to the environment as well. Scented soy wax candles generally offer a clean burn for a prolonged period of time.
- Palm wax: Scented candles made of palm wax also consist of completely natural ingredients, as the wax is made from hydrogenated palm oil. Palm wax is even more sustainable than soy wax and is completely biodegradable, so it’s very easy to dispose of the candles when you’re done with them.
- Beeswax: Scented candles made of beeswax are also 100% natural, and they burn longer and cleaner than many other types of wax candles. Beeswax candles are ideal for people who have allergies because they help reduce pollutants in the surrounding air. However, beeswax candles don’t usually offer the strongest fragrance.
The nature of the wick affects how well a candle burns. The wick may have a core made of cotton and paper or a core made of metal.
Wicks made of cotton and paper are known to burn evenly and for longer than other types of wicks. They don’t produce as much smoke or require trimming, either. However, cotton and paper wicks typically create more melted wax than other options. As such, this type of wick works best for jarred candles.
Wicks with a metal core is extremely common. Even as the wax begins to liquefy, these wicks stay upright. However, the metal produces more smoke than other options and requires regular trimming in order to achieve the best burning performance.
The size of a scented candle matter because the bigger it is, the farther its fragrance will travel. Therefore, in a larger room, you’ll probably want a larger candle. In a smaller space, a smaller candle would likely get the job done.
Generally speaking, a larger space like a living room requires a scented candle that’s 18 ounces or greater. A medium-size room like a bedroom would do well with a candle between eight and ten ounces. For a small bathroom or laundry room, a candle of four to six ounces would suffice.
Most people want a scented candle that can burn for a long time. In many cases, the size of the candle determines its burn time. However, there are some smaller scented candles that offer up to 60 hours of burn time.
For the best burn time, choose a scented candle that weighs at least 18 ounces. You’ll likely get between 130 and 160 hours of burn time from a candle that size.
Position burning candles away from flammable materials and out of reach of children and pets, and never leave a candle unattended while it burns.
Burn candles only in spaces that are ventilated well. At the same time, be sure not to place the flame in the path of a draft or blowing air vent.
To minimize smoke and wax spillage and protect the wick, put out your scented candles with the help of a candle snuffer rather than blowing them out.
Scented candles FAQ
Q. Can I use scented candles if I have allergies?
A. Most scented candles don’t cause reactions unless they contain specific fragrances that you’re allergic to. For example, if you’re sensitive to roses, avoid candles that contain rose notes. Individuals with extreme allergy sensitivities are usually advised to opt for soy-based scented candles to minimize the reaction.
Q. How do you know when a scented candle should be discarded?
A. The packaging may give you an indication as to how much burning time you can expect, but it’s usually impossible to keep track of exactly how long you’ve been burning a candle. A good general rule is to get rid of any candle that has half an inch or less of wax left in its container.
What’s the best scented candle to buy?
Top scented candles
Our take: This is a luxurious therapeutic candle made of eco-friendly materials including soy wax and a cotton wick. It makes an ideal gift (a gift box is included) and is great for at-home aromatherapy.
What we like: It can burn for up to 80 hours in spite of its smaller size. The maker is environmentally conscientious and strives to create a spiritually positive experience for users.
What we dislike: The fragrance does not spread as far as some users would like.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top scented candles for the money
NEST Fragrances Classic Candle-Grapefruit
Our take: An excellent, affordable candle that smells as good as pricier options.
What we like: The crisp, light scent doesn’t overwhelm. The jar contains over eight ounces and provides a decent burn time.
What we dislike: It doesn’t burn as long as some other choices, and it may give off black smoke. No lid is included.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Yankee Candle Company White Gardenia Large Jar Candle
Our take: This is a quality candle with a subtle fragrance and a decent price.
What we like: The jar is extremely generous at 22 ounces and includes a snug lid. The formula contains essential oils for a very natural scent. It can burn for up to 150 hours.
What we dislike: Some users find the scent to be too weak.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.