The Best Candles of 2021

Create a warm and inviting atmosphere with the gentle glow of a scented or unscented candle. Discover the best candles for multiple purposes and occasions.

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The Best Candle Option

Photo: amazon.com

Since the time of the ancient Roman Empire, people have used poured-wax candles with wicks for lighting. Modern candles, however, are less of a necessity and used to create an aesthetic or vibe. Glowing candlelight creates a warm, cozy, and romantic atmosphere. Additionally, the fragrances from scented candles can evoke feelings of relaxation and invigoration.

Candles come in numerous styles—from pillar candles to taper candles to votives, tealights, and beyond—and can be made from a variety of waxes, including soy wax, paraffin, and wax blends. Read on to find the best candles for your home.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Yankee Candle Pink Sands Large Tumbler Candle
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Glade Candle Jar
  3. BEST PILLAR CANDLE: Stonebriar Tall 3×6 Inch Unscented Pillar Candles
  4. BEST JAR CANDLE: Yankee Candle Macintosh Large Jar Candle
  5. BEST VOTIVE CANDLE: Hosley’s Set of 30 Ivory Unscented Votive Candles
  6. BEST TEALIGHTS: Yummi Candles 50 Scented Tealight Candles
  7. BEST FLORAL-SCENT CANDLE: White Barn, White Gardenia, 3-Wick Candle
  8. BEST NATURE-SCENT CANDLE: P. F. Candle Co. Amber & Moss Large Candle
  9. BEST CLEAN-SCENT CANDLE: Mrs. MEYER’S CLEAN DAY Soy Aromatherapy Candle
  10. BEST UNSCENTED CANDLE: Melt Candle Company Store Unscented Pillar Candles
The Best Candle Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Candles

When it comes to shopping for candles, the vast range of options to choose from can feel overwhelming. After all, there is so much to think about, from the candle size to its style to its design. The wax ingredients and wick fibers may also affect a shopper’s final choice. (It’s also fun to discover new and delicious-smelling fragrances!) This buyer’s guide covers all that and more. Read on for tips on how to choose the best candles for your home.

Types of Candles

Candles typically fall into one of two categories: scented and unscented. Scented candles offer an extensive range, from fruity to floral to woodland and beyond, whereas unscented candles give off a warm and inviting glow without the smell. Unscented candles are great for social events, as some guests may have allergies or a sensitivity to certain fragrances.

Scent

Candles are a small yet influential item. Think about it: Candles have the power to persuade potential home buyers to make their final decision on which house will soon become their home. This is why real estate agents often top off their staged listings with a scented candle. Citrus, herbs, vanilla, green tea, pine, and cedar are all popular choices. Candles also have the ability to transform a regular living or dining room into a romantic getaway for two—it just takes a bit of creativity, depending on the space.

Some scents evoke soothing sensations of relaxation or happy memories, like walking along a sunny beach or through a wooded forest, while other scents may inspire robust feelings of healthy energy. The best scented candles contribute to the health and happiness of a home’s occupants.

Health-conscious shoppers may look for scented candles with fragrances created from all-natural essential oils. Natural candles reduce the risk of coming into contact with potentially harmful chemicals.

Wax and Wick

Candle manufacturers and DIYers use a variety of wax materials and blends. Soy wax, for example, is pretty popular among candle lovers. As the name suggests, it’s made from soybean oil—a natural, nontoxic, sustainable, plant-based substance. Environmentally conscious consumers appreciate its sustainability, while health-conscious shoppers welcome its natural and nontoxic reputation.

Paraffin wax is another popular candle wax. It’s inexpensive, holds its shape, and produces a strong scent. Scented candles made from paraffin wax can fill a large area with a pleasant fragrance. Environmentally conscious shoppers may choose to avoid paraffin because it’s a petroleum-based byproduct of the gasoline-manufacturing process. To avoid toxic emissions, shoppers may look for paraben-free and phthalate-free paraffin waxes.

The wick of a candle affects its safety and burn time. All-natural cotton wicks are an optimal choice. To avoid toxic fumes, look for lead-free wicks.

Burn Time

In theory, short and fat candles should burn slower than tall, thin candles. But when it comes to a candle’s burn time (i.e., how long the candle will last before burning out), the wax and its melting point, the wick length, and the size of the candle matter.

Even so, poured beeswax candles burn the longest/slowest when compared to other wax candles. (Rolled beeswax candles have a short burn time.) Poured beeswax candles can be expensive, so many shoppers turn to soy wax as a second choice. Soy candles are cheaper and burn almost as long and as slowly as beeswax. The least expensive candle wax is paraffin, and it’s known to produce the shortest burn time.

Looking for a quick tip to lengthen a candle’s burn time? Just sprinkle a bit of salt into the liquid wax of the candle. The salt will slow the burn rate, which will give a longer burn.

Style and Design

When it comes to style and design, candles fall into two categories: freestanding candles and container candles. In the freestanding category, pillar candles, votives, and tapers fill the bill for decorative dinner-table centerpieces and festive vignettes for fireplace mantels, weddings, receptions, and church services. They’re available in a variety of sizes ranging from diminutive votives to tall and sturdy pillars. Users must provide heatproof candleholders or trays for freestanding candles and place them in stable locations for safety.

Container candles offer the advantage of holding the melted wax within a confined space. Popular containers include glass jars, tin cups, metal vessels, and ceramic pots. Although the melted candle wax stays within the container, these candles should be placed on a heatproof surface. Shoppers can find container candles in myriad designs, colors, sizes, and shapes.

Our Top Picks

The following list features high-quality products from reputable candle manufacturers. Our recommendations include both freestanding and container candles in scented and unscented varieties. This list also includes candles made from different waxes to produce a clean, long, and nontoxic burn. Our top picks feature some of the best candles available on today’s market.

Best Overall

The Best Candle Option: Yankee Candle Pink Sands Large Tumbler Candle
Photo: yankeecandle.com

Founded in 1969, Yankee Candle is the largest manufacturer of scented candles in the U.S. Yankee Candle’s Pink Sands candle is one of the company’s best-selling products, and many consider it to be one of the best-smelling candles. This brightly colored candle features a mix of bright citrus, sweet florals, and spicy vanilla fragrance via a premium-grade wax.

Citrus, melon, and berry comprise the top fragrance notes, which make a fruity first impression (perfect for a bathroom!). With a base fragrance created from a blend of spicy vanilla, musk, and wood, Pink Sands leaves a subtle yet lingering ambience in any space.

A tin lid covers the glass tumbler when not in use. While the candle burns, the lid fits neatly on the bottom of the reusable and recyclable glass tumbler. Two cotton wicks ensure a clean burn.

Product Specs 

  • Product dimensions: 3.94 inches in diameter by 5.8 inches high
  • Weight: 20 ounces
  • Burn time: 60 to 100 hours

Pros

  • Reusable and recyclable container
  • Popular fragrance
  • Tin lid for safe handling
  • Reliable quality, respected manufacturer

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Shorter burn time compared to Yankee Candle’s large jar candles


Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Candle Option: Glade Candle Jar, Air Freshener, 2in1
Photo: amazon.com

The modest price of these small scented jar candles from Glade allows users to keep a backup supply of candles on hand, in case of a surprise visit or unannounced guest. Owned by the S.C. Johnson Company, Glade enjoys a long-standing reputation for high-quality and affordably priced home scent products.

This popular two-in-one pack features two pleasant scents: Moonlit Walk and Wandering Stream. Although these candles are made from paraben-free wax, they contain Benzophenone-12 and paraffin, which may be a deal-breaker for health-conscious shoppers.

These candles were designed to fill a room with scent quickly and efficiently while offering a consistent fragrance experience from the beginning to the end of each candle’s burn time. Additionally, the scent is formulated to linger in the home after the candle’s flame is extinguished.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 3.25 by 3.25 by 3.6 inches each
  • Weight: 3.4 ounces each, 6.8 ounces in the two-pack
  • Burn time: 30 hours each

Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Long burn time, considering their size
  • Paraben-free wax

Cons

  • Contains Benzophenone-12, which is linked to cancer
  • Contains paraffin, a petroleum-based byproduct
  • Doesn’t include a lid


Best Pillar Candle

The Best Candle Option: Stonebriar Tall 3x6 Inch Unscented Pillar Candles
Photo: amazon.com

These white pillar candles provide optimal candlelight for weddings, church services, receptions, dinner parties, and power outages. Use them as a part of a dining table centerpiece, as mantel decorations, or as tabletop vignettes.

The six-pack arrives in a neatly packed box equipped with dividers that fit in between the candles, providing an ample supply of unscented pillar candles for decorating or emergencies.

Stonebriar uses high-quality paraffin and over-dips the candles during the manufacturing process to ensure long-burning candles. Each pillar burns for 65 hours, and the 100 percent cotton wicks ensure a clean burn. This means users don’t need to worry about smoke or soot from these candles.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 3 by 6 inches
  • Weight: Approximately 2.5 ounces
  • Burn time: 65 hours

Pros

  • Suitable for dinner parties and receptions
  • Optimal choice as a wedding unity candle
  • Long burn time
  • High-quality paraffin wax
  • Clean burning (no smoke or soot)

Cons

  • Contain paraffin, a petroleum-based byproduct
  • Doesn’t include a candleholder or tray


Best Jar Candle

The Best Candle Option: Yankee Candle Macintosh Large Jar Candle
Photo: yankeecandle.com

Yankee Candle jar candles provide distinctive scents and long burn times for consumers. They’re manufactured from premium ingredients that are responsibly sourced from around the world.

These jar candles burn evenly, thanks to their 100 percent natural fiber wicks. Additionally, the paraffin used in the candle wax is of the finest quality. Scents are formulated with the utmost care to deliver the most appealing fragrances for the home.

Macintosh is one of the most popular scents in Yankee Candle’s jar candle selection, and the outdoorsy fragrance evokes the scene of an apple orchard laden with fresh fruit. The top fragrance notes include Apple Peels and Crisp Greens. Fragrance notes in the main body of the scent include Rindy Grapefruit and Juicy Macintosh apples, while the base notes of Clove Bud and Sheer Musk create a lasting fragrance impression.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 3.85 by 7 inches
  • Weight: 22 ounces
  • Burn time: 110 to 150 hours

Pros

  • Premium-grade paraffin wax
  • All-natural fiber wicks
  • Long burn time
  • Clean and even burn

Cons

  • Contains paraffin, a petroleum-based byproduct
    Pricey


Best Votive Candle

The Best Candle Option: Hosley’s Set of 30 Ivory Unscented Votive Candles
Photo: amazon.com

Achieve an elegant and sophisticated look with this set of ivory votive candles. Create eye-catching centerpieces for dining, or scatter the votives throughout decorative tabletop vignettes. The unscented quality of these candles makes them a favorite for dining and social occasions where fragrance might be an unwelcome element for some guests.

Each candle will burn for up to 10 hours. For maximum burn time, trim the votive wicks to ⅛ inch. Hosley recommends burning these votives for no more than 4 hours at a time. Keep them on hand for emergency lighting in case of a power outage.

Users must provide heatproof candleholders or trays for safely burning the votives. Following use, votive candles are more easily disposable than jar candles.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 1 by 1.5 inches each
  • Weight: Box of 30 votives is 2.69 pounds
  • Burn time: Up to 10 hours each

Pros

  • Set of 30
  • Classic ivory color
  • Unscented candles are preferable for social occasions

Cons

  • Doesn’t include heatproof candleholders or trays
  • Contains paraffin, a petroleum-based byproduct


Best Tealights

The Best Candle Option: Yummi Candles 50 Scented Tealight Candles
Photo: yummicandles.com

Create a warm and inviting mood in the home with these scented tealight candles. Choose from six scents with corresponding wax colors: Vanilla Cream, Sweet Berries, White Linen, Baked Spice, Spanish Cedar, and Satsuma Chai.

Each tiny candle measures 1.5 inches by .5 inch and sits in its own tin cup for safety, and each one burns for 4 to 5 hours. Users must provide a heatproof surface for these charming miniature container candles. If a wick becomes too short, users may carve out some of the wax to reveal ¼ inch of the wick for relighting.

Yummi Candles uses plant-based, pure essential oils to produce the delicious fragrances emitted by their candles. Additionally, they use paraben-free wax.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: Each candle is 1.5 inches in diameter by .5 inch high
  • Weight: Pack of 50 tealights weighs approximately 2.5 pounds
  • Burn time: 4 to 5 hours each

Pros

  • Nontoxic, food-grade paraffin wax
  • Long burn time, given small size
  • Lead-free, natural cotton wicks
  • Clean and safe burning
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Heatproof candleholders or trays not included
  • Short burn time compared to larger candles


Best Floral-Scent Candle

The Best Candle Option: White Barn, White Gardenia, 3-Wick Candle
Photo: bathandbodyworks.com

Spark joy in the home with the soothing and luxurious scent of white gardenia flowers. This 14.5-ounce candle includes three wicks for even burning and emits fragrance for 25 to 45 hours.

White Barn uses natural essential oils to create the fragrances for their candles. Additionally, the soy wax contains a blend of hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated palm oil, and paraffin. The natural ingredients ensure an evenly melting candle without toxic emissions.

With its classic glass container and decorative lid, the White Barn White Gardenia candle complements just about any style. Bonus: It smells delicious and looks lovely sitting on a shelf or tabletop (safely distanced from drafts, vents, or fans, of course).

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 4 inches wide by 3.5 inches high
  • Weight: 14.5 ounces
  • Burn time: 25 to 45 hours

Pros

  • Soy wax blend
  • Essential oils
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Classic design

Cons

  • Floral scents may be too strong for some
  • Contains paraffin, a petroleum-based byproduct


Best Nature-Scent Candle

The Best Candle Option: P. F. Candle Co. Amber & Moss Large Candle
Photo: pfcandleco.com

The Amber & Moss scent emitted by this jar candle is created by combining sage, moss, and lavender fragrance notes. Let it pervade the home environment for an ambience that is both soothing and invigorating. This large 12.5-ounce soy candle throws a strong scent that works well in large spaces.

The outdoorsy scent, reminiscent of the mountain woodlands, is complemented by the antique look of the apothecary-inspired, amber-colored jar and brass lid. This jar candle lends a rustic, casual vibe.

P. F. Candle Co. uses soy wax made from 100 percent domestically grown soybeans along with cotton-core wicks in their candles. Their fine fragrance oils are paraben-, phthalate-, and cruelty-free.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 3.6 inches in diameter by 3.75 inches high
  • Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Burn time: 60 to 70 hours

Pros

  • Made from domestically produced soybean oil
  • Paraben-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Outdoorsy scent

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Rustic jar may not complement some decor schemes


Best Clean-Scent Candle

The Best Candle Option: Mrs. MEYER’S CLEAN DAY Soy Aromatherapy Candle
Photo: amazon.com

Create a fresh and clean home atmosphere with these soy-wax jar candles from Mrs. Meyer’s CLEAN DAY. Soybean and vegetable oils comprise the natural and renewable ingredients in the wax.

Choose from five fragrances to reap the benefits of aromatherapy. Basil, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Honeysuckle, and Geranium scents evoke feelings of relaxation and cleanliness. Each of the 7.2-ounce candles in this two-pack of candles is encased in a reusable and recyclable glass jelly jar with a tightfitting lid.

Mrs. Meyer’s CLEAN DAY candles are composed of natural, plant-based ingredients that are never tested on animals. Additionally, the company engages in environmentally friendly projects to improve the earth through partnerships, campaigns, volunteer efforts, and donations.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: Pack of 2 candles measures 7.38 by 3.81 by 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces each
  • Burn time: 35 hours each

Pros

  • Fresh, clean scent
  • Natural, renewable, plant-based ingredients
  • Long burn time given the candle’s size
  • No paraffin

Cons

  • Wicks may burn too fast, leaving residual wax
  • Wicks may not burn to the bottom of the jar


Best Unscented Candle

The Best Candle Option: Melt Candle Company Store Unscented Pillar Candles
Photo: amazon.com

Scented candles are nice, but in some social situations, they’re inappropriate. These unscented pillar candles are a favorite among event planners and home decorators. The warm and inviting glow emitted by these candles makes for an elegant atmosphere at weddings, dinner parties, and church services. They’re also popular for backup lighting in case of an emergency power outage.

Melt Candle Company artisans hand-pour each and every candle using a clean-burning, food-grade paraffin wax. They also insert lead-free cotton wicks for a long-lasting, clean burn. This level of care yields dripless and smokeless pillar candles with a vegan footprint.

Product Specs 

  • Dimensions: 3 inches in diameter by 4 inches high (each)
  • Weight: Set of 3 candles weighs 1.98 pounds
  • Burn time: 55 hours each

Pros

  • Unscented candles are preferred for social occasions
  • Hand-poured wax
  • Natural cotton wicks
  • Long burn time

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a heatproof candleholder or tray
  • Contains paraffin, a petroleum-based byproduct


Our Verdict

For a long burn time, strong and pleasant scent, and high-quality wax, the Yankee Candle Pink Sands Large Tumbler Candle is an optimal choice. If you’re looking for smaller, air-freshening jar candles, available at a budget-friendly price, you might prefer the Glade Candle Jar option.

How We Chose the Best Candles

After completing hours of research, we created a list of our top choices for the best candles on the market. The list includes a variety of candle types to fill our readers’ needs for both scented and unscented candles, including freestanding candles and candles that come in containers.

Our product research included investigating candles from more than 30 manufacturers to find reputable brands and desirable product choices. Additionally, our research criteria included wax and wick ingredients, eco-friendly manufacturing processes, consumer safety, burn time, attractive candle designs, aromatherapeutic fragrances, and reasonable pricing.

FAQs

Burning candles for warm ambience and aromatherapy can produce pleasant effects in the home. Additionally, candles create an inviting atmosphere for parties, festive occasions, and social gatherings. As users begin to welcome candlelight into their environments, several issues regarding the safe and effective use of candles may arise. Manufacturers and candle experts recommend the following information and advice for selecting, burning, and storing candles. Read on for the answers to frequently asked questions.

Q. Do candles evaporate?

The heat from a burning wick causes candle wax to melt, which changes the candle from a solid to a liquid. Then, the liquid transforms into a gaseous state and evaporates into the air.

Q. Do I trim candlewicks?

Yes. Following the initial burn, trim the candlewick to ¼ inch above the solid wax before each use.

Q. Do candles expire?

Candles do not expire like fresh foods do. However, candle scents and colors may fade after approximately 12 to 16 months.

Q. Do candles keep bugs away?

Citronella candles naturally repel mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and other insects in outdoor settings such as backyards and patios.

Q. Can candles be recycled?

Candle wax can be reused but not recycled. Users can recycle the glass jars from jar candles after cleaning them and removing all residual wax.

Q. Are soy candles better?

Many people prefer soy candles because soy wax is a clean, all-natural product derived from sustainably sourced soybean oil.