The 10 Best Beeswax Candles
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in December of 2016. These beeswax candles not only make great decorations for any home, but they also burn cleaner than regular ones, with no petroleum-based soot. They are virtually dripless, offer long burn times, and are ideal for everything from creating a romantic ambiance to aromatherapy. Our selections should appeal to a wide range of tastes and budgets, so you're sure to find something that's right for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 15, 2019:
For the best in beeswax candles, Bluecorn and Root are still names to trust, which is why we have kept the Bluecorn Raw Pillars. But we opted for the Root Candles Veriglass in place of the Timberline Pillars. There are plenty of top-notch beeswax pillars and tapers, but high-quality scented candles are less common, and we wanted to provide an option for those who enjoy the latter. And to ensure even greater variety, we selected the Galánta & Co. Unbeelievable Taper, too. Whereas most beeswax models are light yellow, these attractive tapers come in many colors, including red, purple, green, and blue. This does mean they are not all-natural, however. If you prefer to stick to those that are only wax with no additives, consider the Little Bee of Connecticut Hand-Rolled, Beeswax Candle Works Votive 12-Pack, or Votprof Naturals instead. But do note that their actual colors can vary from more yellow to more white, as beeswax can differ depending on the region, pollen, and more.
Knorr Beeswax Tapers If you're looking for large quantities, it's hard to go wrong with these Knorr Beeswax Tapers. Available in an impressive array of colors, they're attractive as well as functional, making them a fine addition to any table. knorrbeeswax.com
Filson Howling Coyote Lovers of nature and the great outdoors will probably appreciate the Filson Howling Coyote, a fun conversation piece to buy for yourself or give as a gift. If coyotes aren't your thing, there are also bear versions, but no matter which you choose, you can expect an all-natural, artisan-made product. filson.com
Savannah Bee Co. Beehive Just as the name suggests, the Savannah Bee Co. Beehive resembles a cute, diminutive hive, so you'll probably want to display it prominently. They contain absolutely no artificial colors or fragrances and are made by hand, which helps to justify their relatively high price. savannahbee.com
The Benefits Of Burning Beeswax
If you've ever seen a honeycomb, then you've witnessed beeswax in its natural habitat.
Many consumers don't realize it, but a large number of low-cost, run-of-the-mill candles contain paraffin wax, a petroleum by-product borne of crude oil refinement. While paraffin wax has a handful of practical aspects that make it well-suited for use in cosmetics, polishes, and candles, it still has plenty of drawbacks. For one, it's derived from a non-renewable resource that causes myriad environmental problems. It's also not particularly good for you to be around it when it burns — studies have found that it emits harmful fumes linked to lung cancer and asthma. While it would take years of burning paraffin wax in an unventilated space to make you sick, you can reduce indoor pollution and help the environment out by opting for green, non-toxic alternatives. In addition to soy, the candle industry has another beloved champion: beeswax.
If you've ever seen a honeycomb, then you've witnessed beeswax in its natural habitat. To create these hexagonal, honey-holding structures, worker bees secrete wax from glands located on their abdomens. When the time comes for beekeepers to extract honey from the comb, they find themselves with leftover wax, which can be made into things like candles and moisturizers. Because apiaries need their bees to be in optimal health, they'll only harvest the excess a colony doesn't need, resulting in a sustainable commodity.
Beeswax candles also boast long burn times. Their complex molecular structure and high melting point enable them to burn slower than paraffin and soy, and as an added bonus, they're virtually dripless. They're extremely stable and have few solvents, so they'll hold up for long periods of time if necessary. And if you're a consumer who has sworn off products that use chemical fragrances or want to diversify your naturally-scented candle cache, you'll appreciate beeswax for its delicate honey scent.
What To Look For In A Beeswax Candle
Whether you’re in search of pillars, tapers, or votives, there are a few things to consider before you purchase beeswax candles. To start, you’ll want to ensure the product you’re eyeing is made from 100 percent beeswax. When in doubt, check the color — a pure candle should maintain its natural hue, which can range from off-white to deep golden brown. Beeswax begins as a colorless substance and gains its characteristic yellow shades from propolis and pollen added by worker bees. It should also develop a light, powdery coating called bloom over time. This is the result of naturally-rising oils in the wax, and you can buff it off with a soft cloth if you don’t like the way it looks.
It’s also imperative that the wick is the correct thickness for the candle in question, as one that's properly-sized will burn brightly and avoid tunneling.
Next, there’s the wick to account for. Whether it’s crafted from hemp or unbleached cotton, you’ll want to look for knitted or square-braided options, which are usually the mark of a higher-quality item. They’re robust, they burn consistently, and they curl in the flame, which results in a convenient self-trimming effect. It’s also imperative that the wick is the correct thickness for the candle in question, as one that's properly-sized will burn brightly and avoid tunneling. Thankfully, most producers have the science behind wick selection down pat. A good rule of thumb is to choose hand-poured or dipped products, as there’s less room for error and better quality control.
Then, there’s fragrance. While many people are perfectly content with the subtle scent of beeswax, others may prefer something other than honey. To achieve this without bringing synthetic irritants into your home, opt for selections that use pure essential oils. You can also add your own to the candle’s wax pool if you prefer a little variety.
And finally, if you’re a conscientious consumer, try to make it a priority to purchase from responsible apiaries, especially those that are local or family-owned. Bees are integral to our ecosystem and responsible for pollinating a huge percentage of flowering plants, which includes a large chunk of our food supply. By patronizing companies that practice ethical beekeeping, you're supporting some of the planet’s hardest working insects.
A Brief History Of Beeswax
Some of the earliest evidence we have of human interaction with bees comes from cave paintings that date back 8,000 years. The Cuevas de la Arana of eastern Spain boast artwork that depicts a human form gathering honey from a beehive. We're not sure who that Epipaleolithic hero was, but we can attribute our long history of honey and beeswax harvesting to the curiosity and ingenuity of prehistoric peoples.
Some of the earliest evidence we have of human interaction with bees comes from cave paintings that date back 8,000 years.
Ancient Egyptians were industrious beekeepers who valued their hives, as they believed bees to be a sacred gift from Ra. While honey was an integral component of their cuisine and numerous medicinal salves, beeswax also served myriad purposes. They used it for everything from cosmetics and embalming to preserving papyrus scrolls and protecting paintings. It could even be relied on to ward off evil on occasion.
Egyptians weren't the only civilization who recognized the versatility of beeswax. Romans molded death masks and effigies with it, and Persians were fond of using it for mummification. And if you've ever come across the Greek legend of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun on homemade wings of feathers and wax, well, you can guess what type of wax that might have been.
During the Middle Ages, it was so valuable that it was considered an acceptable form of payment in much of Europe. It also enjoyed religious preference, as the Roman Catholic Church would use nothing less than 100 percent beeswax for their candles (these days they make do with just 51 percent). Typical households of the time period relied on tallow candles rendered from animal fat for their lighting needs, but they weren't ideal. Beeswax candles were far superior due to their clean, bright flame and lovely scent. Because it was in such short supply and demand was so high, only the wealthiest had the opportunity to bask in the light of these candles in their homes.
Beeswax is still a highly sought after commodity to this day, but thankfully, people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can get their hands on some.