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23 Different Types of Candles for Light and Ambiance in Your Home

A collage of different types of candles.

Quicklist: Candles

  1. Flameless
  2. Tea Light
  3. Votive
  4. Taper
  5. Candle Pot
  6. Pillar
  7. Birthday
  8. Floating
  9. Paraffin Wax
  10. Palm Wax
  11. Soy Wax
  12. Bayberry Wax
  13. Beeswax
  14. Liquid Wax
  15. Wood Wicks
  16. Cotton or Paper Core Wicks
  17. Metal Core Wicks
  18. Scented
  19. Unscented
  20. Set
  21. Theme
  22. Dripless
  23. Insect Repellent

When I was in Grade 4 I attended a week-long summer camp. It was an amazing place on a mountain in a forest. We stayed in cabins with other kids and there was a big field, a lake and so much more.

Our days were filled with the various activities that we signed up for. One activity I chose was candle making. It was an absolute blast. We melted crayons into layers in milk cartons. It was awesome. I went home with several DIY candles.

It’s interesting that despite having all kinds of lights powered by electricity candles are still popular. In fact, people in the US alone spend approximately $3.2 billion per year on candles. They’re used in seven out of 10 households.

We’re a good example. We buy all kinds of candles for our home. My wife likes having a candle at the dinner table (although our three-year-old loves blowing them out so sometimes it’s a short-lived dinner candle).

Candles are also good to have on hand for when the power goes out.

Which brings me to this article’s key topic — a detailed look at all the different types of candles you can buy. We break down the types by candle type, wax, wick and features.

Related: Lighting Options

Candle Types

1. Flameless

Flameless Pillar Candles

Flameless Pillar Candles

Flameless Taper Candles

Flameless Taper Candles

We have several flameless candles in our house. They really do look like candles. We like them because we have young kids. Besides, they last a long time and they aren’t a fire hazard.

These types of candles have become very popular in recent years because there isn’t any worry over accidentally starting a fire in your home when you use them. You will still be able to create a warm, inviting atmosphere without any worry of someone getting burned or forgetting to blow the candles out at the end of the night.

They do not produce any smoke or heat but are a great source of light. These battery-powered candles do not have a stagnant light source; rather, they are made to flicker and to move in a way that is similar to candles with flames, which causes them to look very natural.

There are some flameless candles that can be programmed so they will automatically turn on at a specific time of the day. Others come with a remote control, which will allow you to easily turn them on and off without having to lift each individual candle and turn on or off the switch on the bottom.

2. Tea Light

Tea lights

These candles are easily recognizable, thanks to their small size. Due to their size, they will not last for very long before they burn out but they are a great way to add a little light to your space.

They create an incredibly intimate environment, which is something that your guests will remember if you have a party. Because they are so small, you will generally want to use a number of them at once so that you get the most impact from the flames.

Grouping them together is the best way to enjoy the candles and ensure that you have enough light.

3. Votive

Votive Candles

While votive candles are still relatively small, they are not nearly as compact as tea light candles are. They are generally about two and a half inches tall and around two inches in diameter, making them short and squat.

It is imperative that you use votive candles in a container so that you don’t have to worry about how you are going to safely control the flame. One reason why people love votive candles is because they do not produce any smoke.

Additionally, they burn for a long period of time, which is surprising due to their smaller size. When a votive candle burns all the way to the bottom, then it will simply burn itself out. This means that you don’t have to keep a close eye on these candles or worry about them as they get close to extinguishing.

4. Taper

Dinner table with taper candles

 

If you want candles that are classic and will instantly update your space and the way that your home looks, then you will want to reach for taper candles. These are very tall and generally thin, which lends them an incredibly elegant air.

If you want to create a romantic dinner or simply light some candles to improve the ambiance of your space, taper candles are a great option.

They can burn for an incredibly long period of time, even up to 10 hours, which makes them ideal for use when you are going to have a long meal or don’t want to have to worry about checking the condition of your candles during a party.

One problem that you will need to be prepared for when using taper candles is that they can’t stand up on their own and require candle holders.

5. Candle Pot

Candle Pot

Candle pots are popular because they take a lot of the stress out of having a lit candle in your home or office. If you want to be able to burn a candle but are worried about keeping an eye on the flame or the hot wax, then a candle pot may be the best option for you.

These candles come in a glass, pot, or a jar. They are not poured and then set inside the jar but rather are poured directly into the container, which means that you don’t have to worry about the candle popping out or coming loose from the jar.

You don’t have to worry about finding candleholders for these candles as they are ready to be lit from the moment you buy them. Candle pot candles often come with a lid and can be stored out of the way to prevent them from releasing their scent when they are not lit.

Candle pots come in a variety of different colors, sizes and scents.

6. Pillar

Pillar candles on dining table

If you don’t want to have to worry about having your candles in candleholders but still want taller candles that will be breathtaking when lit and placed on the table or mantle, then pillar candles may be a great choice.

These candles are ideal for people who don’t want to have to deal with a candleholder and want a candle that is large enough to be commanding once it is lit. They come in many different widths, heights and scents.

Some pillar candles are so large that they have more than one wick, which is a great way to ensure that you are getting enough light from your candles.

When using a pillar candle, you need to make sure that you have the candle on a flat surface that is heat-resistant so that it will not damage the surface as the wick burns lower.

It’s also important to make sure to keep an eye on your pillar candles as they are not in protective jars and can easily be knocked over if someone isn’t paying attention.

7. Birthday

Birthday cake with candles

Most everyone can easily recognize a birthday candle. These small candles are thin and light and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and designs.

They are used on a birthday cake and have to be able to light very quickly so that they will not burn down to the cake before the person has a chance to make a wish and blow them out.

There are some types of birthday candles that are trick candles — even when they are blown out, they will delight. Other birthday candles will spark when they are lit which is a fun twist on regular birthday candles.

8. Floating

Floating candles in stemware

Floating candles are a great way to add atmosphere to your event as they produce a very attractive light and are a little bit unexpected.

Unlike other types of candles that are either placed on a flat surface or in candleholders in order to be lit and to burn, floating candles actually float on water. This can be very attractive, especially when the container they are in is deep enough and large enough to allow them to move a little bit with the water.

One of the main benefits that you’ll enjoy when you opt for floating candles is that you don’t have to worry about hot wax spilling out onto your table or people accidentally knocking the candle over. Due to the fact that they are floating on water, they are generally very safe to use.

Of course, since they are much smaller in size than other types of candles, they do tend to burn out more quickly but will generally last a few hours, making them perfect for an event.

Types of Wax Used for Candles

9. Paraffin Wax

Paraffin Wax

This is the most popular type of wax that is used to make candles. It is a byproduct from petroleum with a high melting point. This means that the candles made from paraffin wax are very rigid and strong.

Because of this, paraffin wax is commonly used to make pillar candles and votives as the candle needs to be sturdy enough to stand on its own.

Many different types of colors and scents can be used with paraffin wax — in fact, there are a large number of dyes and scents that have been specifically formulated for use with paraffin.

This means that these colors and scents are going to be more vibrant and potent, resulting in a much more pleasing candle for you to look at and burn.

10. Palm Wax

Palm Wax

Palm wax is much thicker than other types of wax that are used for making candles, which means that the wax will last for a long time when burning and the candle will have a longer burn time.

One main benefit of using palm wax candles is that the wax itself is biodegradable, which means that it can be disposed of in an eco-friendly way.

The wax is created by separating fatty acids from palm oil by placing the oil under extreme pressure and temperature. The fatty acids are then used to make the actual palm wax.

11. Soy Wax

Soy wax candle

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In recent years, soy wax candles have grown in popularity. They burn cleanly and are generally much cooler when burning than other types of candles.

This means that the actual candle itself is able to last for between 30% and 50% longer than candles made from other types of wax. Candles made from soy wax don’t produce any petrol-carbon soot and don’t have any pollutants in them.

12. Bayberry Wax

Cape Candle - Real Bayberry Wax Classic Candles 8" (Boxed pair)

This is an eco-friendly wax that is plant-based. Because it is not very strong or durable on its own, it is generally used in conjunction with beeswax so there isn’t any concern over the strength of the candle.

Candles that are made from bayberry wax will have a very refreshing and natural aroma when burned. This wax is often used to create holiday candles, thanks to the light scent.

13. Beeswax

Beeswax candles

While beeswax candles are often much more expensive than other types of candles on the market, they have a number of benefits that make them very popular with people who are interested in having gorgeous candles that they can burn in their homes.

These candles actually help to clean the air while they are being burned. They do this by reducing any pollutants present in the air that can cause allergies and asthma. Additionally, they burn much longer and cleaner than candles that are made out of soy and paraffin.

14. Liquid Wax

Firefly Refillable, Glass Unscented Tealight Candles - 5 Pack - Bulk - Long Lasting Tea Lights

Candles that are made from various oils are ideal if you want to enjoy candles in your home or office but do not like the soot and smoke that they commonly produce.

These candles are generally made from paraffin oil or mineral oil, and are a clean option if you do not like the mess created by traditional candles.

Additionally, you don’t have to deal with cleaning up any kind of melted wax, which means that you never have to worry about your surface being damaged by wax if the candle were to be knocked or were to fall over.

Wick Types for Candles

15. Wood Wicks

Wood Wick Candle

These wicks aren’t only incredibly easy to light but they are also environmentally friendly. Once you have lit a wood wick, they burn very cleanly due to the fact that they produce very little carbon buildup and debris.

This results in a very professional look from your candles as well as leaving behind very little mess that you will have to clean up when the candle is blown out. Many people love that the wood wick will crackle softly when it is lit, which can help to improve your atmosphere and make it feel very cozy.

This is a great wick if you don’t want to have to worry about trimming it and keeping it at a safe length for burning as they do not need to be trimmed no matter how long you let them burn at a time.

16. Cotton or Paper Core Wicks

Soy Tumbler Candle Hand Poured With Cotton Wick

One thing that most people notice when they burn candles that have paper or cotton core wicks is that they burn a lot hotter and faster than other types of wicks.

This means that they will produce a lot more melted wax than other types of wicks will, which is something that you need to take into consideration when choosing a candle and deciding if it is the right choice for you.

Because of how hot and fast they burn, these wicks are generally used with glass candles filled with wax.

17. Metal Core Wicks

This type of wick has metal in the middle of the wick, which is usually tin or zinc, and can actually stand upright while the wax in the candle liquifies.

This means that your candle will look a lot nicer for a longer period of time. Because of this, they are commonly used with pillar and votive candles.

While some people are concerned over the safety of using metal in the core of wicks and then allowing it to burn, there have been ample studies that have shown that both tin and zinc are perfectly safe to use in a wick, because they are non-toxic.

While lead used to be used in wicks, it has since been banned in many countries due to the pollutants that it would release when burned and the health hazards associated with this type of wick.

Candle Features

18. Scented

If you love the way that candles can improve not only the appearance and beauty of your space but also make your home smell better, then it’s a good idea to consider scented candles.

These candles come in a variety of scents, which makes it fairly easy to find one that will smell great in your space. From floral scents to the smell of baking cookies, scented candles are a great way to update your space and improve the smell.

If you have unpleasant or stale odors in your home, then scented candles are a great way to get rid of them. They are also very beneficial if you have musty smells in your home that you want to clear.

19. Unscented

If you love the way that candles look and how they add beauty and ambiance to your space, but aren’t interested in scented options, either because they bother your nose or because you don’t like having competing smells in your home, then unscented candles may be a great choice for you.

They are ideal if you are going to be having a dinner party and don’t want the smell of your meal to have to compete with the scent of a candle.

While they don’t have a scent, they are just as attractive and functional as scented candles are and will help set the ambiance in your home.

20. Set

Set of 3 pillar candles on dish in living room

One of the best ways to really make an impact with your candles is by placing a number of them in the same area. Candle sets are specifically designed to look great together; while they will be similar in theme or design, they will not match perfectly.

This feature ensures that your candles don’t match too much, which some people do not like. It’s normal for candles in a set to vary in size or shape but to have the same color or design on the candle so that they appear to be part of a cohesive set.

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21. Theme

Santa candle

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One great way to decorate for the holidays is with candles. You can buy ones that are themed for different holidays, which is a very fun way to decorate and ensure that you have carried the theme of the holiday throughout your home.

As an added bonus, when you rely on themed candles as a part of your decorations, you will be able to light them and enjoy the ambiance that they create when hosting celebrations or dinner parties.

22. Dripless

Red dripless candles

One problem that many people face when they have candles is that the wax will drip down the side, pool at the bottom of the candle, and actually ruin the surface that the candle is on.

Rather than allowing this to happen or having to constantly be on guard for candle wax that is starting to drip, when you invest in dripless candles, you won’t have worry about wax pooling by the candle or pouring it out when it is too runny.

If your candles are a part of a centerpiece on your table, then this is important as the hot wax can ruin the centerpiece. Additionally, the candles themselves will look cleaner and neater and won’t be as dangerous since there is no hot wax that can burn you. They also burn longer and cleaner than regular candles do.

23. Insect Repellent

Insect Repellent Candles

Spending time outside in the summer is a lot of fun but not when you are constantly being bitten by insects.

Rather than coating yourself with sprays that can contain very harmful chemicals, when you opt to light an insect-repellent candle, then you can help to drive away these pests without any adverse effects.

Most people think that these candles are packed with essential oils smell great, which is an added benefit to using them. Of course, if it is very windy out or you are trying to prevent insects from entering a large space, then your candles may not provide you with the protection that you need or want.

Related: Candle Burning Tips | Candle Alternatives

Best Type for Various Purposes

Aromatherapy

candles for Aromatherapy.

When choosing candles for aromatherapy, the type of wax used is important in terms of air health and effectiveness. Any candle that uses natural essential oils will produce the best, most natural scent.

Make sure the candle is pthalate0free and made from either palm wax, beeswax, or paraffin for the best results. An organic wick is also a great option for aromatherapy candles to produce a clean and even burn. Look for soothing fragrances like lavender, peppermint oil, or clary sage for a calming effect.

You can also find floral and citrus-scented candles for a nice pick-me-up that may help to lift your mood. Research manufacturers and look at ingredients carefully to find the best candles for aromatherapy for your specific needs.

Flame

Candles for Flame.

While many people use candles for their scent, others may enjoy the sight of a calming, flickering flame. If you’re looking for the best candles in terms of flame size or brightness, anything made of beeswax or soy wax is an excellent choice.

Candles made of beeswax produce a warm-toned flame and tend to be brighter than other wax candles. Soy wax is also among the brightest and best. A good rule of thumb is that the higher the wax’s melting point, the better and more pronounced the flame will be.

A higher melting point means that the wax will melt at a higher temperature, producing more light and more heat. It also produces more carbon dioxide and water vapor, which keeps the candle burning longer and more evenly. Candles with containers about three inches in diameter tend to produce the best flame, too.

Brightness

Candles for Brightness

Similar to candles that produce the best flame, beeswax and soy wax also tend to burn the brightest. Coconut wax candles also produce a very clean and bright burn. Of course, there are some things that you can do to help ensure your candle burns as brightly as possible.

First, keep the wick trimmed before you light it. Tapered candles should have a slightly longer wick than pillar or jar candles and should be kept at a length of approximately ¼ inch. When lighting a candle for the first time, do not blow it out until the first layer of wax has completely melted.

This ensures a clean and even burn moving forward every time you light it. After your pillar candle has burned and you blow it out, gently pinch the sides of the candle to help contain the wax to prevent tunneling and extend its lifespan.

Always make sure that you burn candles in a safe, open area away from anything flammable. The exposure to air will also ensure that your candle continues to burn brightly.

Diffusion

Candles for Diffusion.

If you want a candle that diffuses fragrance, a sox wax candle is typically the best option. The more wicks the candle has, the more it will diffuse the scent (and the light). Look for two or three-wick candles, and you can also find even larger options that have more wicks if you prefer.

Generally, a single-wick candle won’t do a great job of diffusing light or fragrance nearly as well as a two or three-wick candle will. You may need to experiment with different brands, sizes, and scents to determine which candle diffuses the best in your home.

Emergencies

Candles for Emergencies.

If the power goes out, you may need a candle to light your way. Look for candles that are specifically labeled to be used in emergencies, although practically any candle will do if you’re in a pinch. Emergency candles are made to burn slow and should last anywhere from 20 to 110 hours or more.

Store them in a cool, dry place, and your emergency candles should last forever. Liquid paraffin is a great option for emergency candles since they are sealed and won’t drip. They also burn clean and tend to last the longest.

Always choose self-contained candles that are inside of a glass jar or metal container to prevent an accidental fire. Make sure you place the candle in a secure area away from small children and pets. If you need to use an emergency candle at night, make sure you blow it out before heading to bed.

Never use candles that allow the wax to drip outside of the container which could create a hazard. A jar candle is always a great option for emergencies since its basically self-contained. Look for candles with a lid so you can store them away securely when they’re not in use.

Fragrance isn’t really a factor when it comes to emergency candles, and you shouldn’t need to spend a lot of money on a candle that is only designed to serve a basic, utilitarian purpose.

Top Candle Brands

Candles add a fresh aroma to your home, office, or any space and can add mood lighting for an evening with that special someone. Many candle owners also enjoy using these beautiful wax holders as a centerpiece to dress up the décor.

With handblown jars and elegant labels, some top brands make candles so stunning that you may never want to light them. Fragrance preferences are incredibly intimate and personal, and with so many candle brands on the market, it can be difficult to choose the option to fit your home.

These are several candle brands that won’t steer you in the wrong direction:

Boy Smells

Boy Smells candle.

The Boy Smells brand is at the top of best candle lists because it has quickly gone from unknown to generating a solid following. Boy Smells candles are best known for their delicious aromas, inclusivity, and excellent branding.

Their marketing mission is to make the candles “genderful,” which means they don’t specifically target women or men. While the company is the new candle on the block, the brand has garnished a devoted following due to the pink labels on black packaging.

Boy Smells even partnered with country star Kacey Musgraves on their Slow Burn collection, and the signature candles boast scents not found elsewhere.

Diptyque

Diptyque candle.

From a high-end candle perspective with intoxicating aromas, Diptyque offers numerous options for display or gifting purposes. This French company is well-known for its luxe candles, and the possibilities exude elegance in scents and looks.

Traditional favorites, like the Baies scent, make an excellent gift, and the ceramic and colorful glass candle jars will gain you compliments.

However, if you want even more exclusive offerings, check out their annual limited-edition city candle collection with scents that will fly you to Berlin or Tokyo without leaving the comfort of your home.

Homesick

Homesick candle.

As the name indicates, Homesick candles present a nostalgic feeling that transports you to a specific place and time. Whether this candle is for you or a gift, Homesick candles are an excellent choice for bringing the scent of a favorite locale since each fragrance is based on a U.S. state.

Homesick has taken this further by offering scents from popular cities and countries. The brand even boasts aromas to remind you of favorite memories and precise moments, such as Grandma’s kitchen, pumpkin picking, and a fun ski trip.

Keys Soulcare

Keys Soulcare candle.

Keys Soulcare may not be your best option for those with sensitive noses. The candles are heavily scented but not overpowering, which is refreshing from other candle manufacturers.

The beautiful combinations of scents can be burned the entire day without having a headache by the evening. Their packaging is a sleek, all-black jar with a serif font on the front to highlight their branding.

Key Soulcare candles are some of the longest burning available for the size, with a 65-hour burn time for a 7.5-ounce candle.

Saintpastels

Saintpastels candle.

The differentiation factor with Saintpastels and other candle brands is their handmade signature silhouette collection, available in eight colors, from turquoise to ivory, and can be purchased in 14 scents.

One of the most exciting candle designs launched by Saintpastels is the Nike Air Jordan 1 Sneaker candle, which was highly appealing to the sneakerheads of the world.

This brand is unique because they don’t use any outer packaging to contain the wax, allowing for more shape innovation than the competition.

Voluspa

Voluspa candle.

Known for their patterned tins and textured jars, Voluspa candles are excellent for gifting. The brand has a wide range of scents, from santal vanilla to crushed candy cane, and each is hand-poured into a container in California.

Best of all, regardless of your favorite Voluspa scent, the aroma diffuses evenly throughout the room without overpowering.

These candles are available in assorted sizes and shapes, but the most beautiful packaging is the thick glass jars with an embossed exterior, which makes each model feel like a statement.

Where to Buy Candles

Amazon

Since Amazon serves as a one-stop for almost anything you could ever want or need, it may be a no-brainer that it’s a great place to find candles too. Amazon tops all other sources for variety when it comes to types of candles, vendors, and price range.

You can find affordable options, all natural varieties, and even unique and gag candles. It’s a great place to browse your options and get a feel for

Mrs. Meyers

Those looking for natural options can check out Mrs. Meyer’s cruelty-free non-toxic choices. Customers can choose from a variety of styles and scents knowing that the candles have only clean ingredients.

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods has a reputation for high quality, unique products for a refined audience. Their candles match this image with offerings unlike any you’ll find anywhere else. That includes candles with unique, specialized scents, unique wax patterns, and creative designs.

Anthropologie

For sleek, beautiful candles with alluring scents, check out Anthropologie’s line-up. You can even find their Capri Blue scent like you smell when shopping in stores.

That can be appealing to those who love the Anthropologie experience. The Capri Blue candle comes in a variety of sizes and containers to fit any space.

Target

If you’re looking for a budget option that still looks and smells great, try out the many options at Target. The prices are lower than other candles but they’ll still fill your room with a nice scent to set the mood. Most of Target’s candles are not all natural or toxin free though.

Etsy

Etsy is a popular website that allows artists to sell their products to people around the world. Many of the vendors make unique and interesting candles. Some are special shapes. Some are crazy or unique scents.

You can even find novelty candles for different sports teams or movie characters. Since the candles are from individual people there are new choices nearly every day.

Keep in mind that the prices are higher since you’re paying the artist as well as Etsy itself. For that higher price you’ll get unique, handcrafted candles. You’ll also be supporting an artist.

Shutterfly

For a truly one-of-a-kind gift try Shutterfly, the popular photo website. On Shutterfly you can upload your own photos and add them to the label of your candle.

Other sites will allow for the same customization, but Shutterfly is the leader in this type of photo gift. They change up their gift options to meet different customer preferences.

Yankee Candle

Yankee candles have been one of the most popular candle brands for years. They have tons of scent options including some popular fan favorites. Their website allows you to browse all their scents.

You can also look for clearance choices and out of season scents. Lots of people have favorite Yankee candle scents that they’ve enjoyed for years. You can find all these long-time favorites on the website.

Bath and Body Works

Known mostly for lotions and soaps, Bath and Body Works also makes high quality candles. Bath and Body Works is a classic mall store. You’ll find one in many traditional malls, outlets, and strip malls. They have strong, stylish candles that are especially popular around Christmas time.

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