The 10 Best Scented Candles
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in September of 2015. Lighting a scented candle can be one of the quickest, easiest, and least expensive ways to create a warm and cozy atmosphere in any room of your home. Each of the selections featured here makes for attractive decor, offers delightfully fragrant notes, and provides subtle lighting that will help you set just about any mood you wish for, from festive to romantic to restful. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 04, 2019:
Our list of scented candles features both soy options (which burn cleanly, like beeswax candles) and strongly scented paraffin choices. The Yankee Candle Large Jar joins the mix in this update as a highly popular choice known for its nice strong scents and durable, lidded glass containers. It’s available in more than 100 fragrances, some suitable for a kitchen (think Spiced Pumpkin and French Vanilla), while others are nice for a powder room (think Fresh Scent and Balsam & Cedar). No matter which you go with, you’ll enjoy between 110 and 150 hours of burn time and a clear, consistent burn, thanks to the high-quality paraffin wax and natural fiber wick.
The Way Out West Set of 2 is another new addition that comes in uplifting and calming scents. (There are six scent-combinations available in all.) These make for a pretty housewarming gift or a present for any candle-lover in your life, thanks to the pretty charms that are attached, attractive gift box, and the included wick dipper tool for smoke-free extinguishing.
One of the more unique selections is the Canadian-made Seracon Products Maple Syrup, which comes in a “Pure Maple Syrup” can and is sure to have you craving a stack of pancakes once you’ve smelled it burning for a few minutes. It too makes for a fun gift – and its wooden wick actually crackles like a fireplace.
Leaving the list is the Old Factory Man Cave, which features a scent that’s too weak for many.
Edgewater Candles Pumpkin Bourbon You’ll be filled with nostalgic autumn memories every time you burn this 12-ounce mason jar candle that offers a fragrant combination of toasted cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. These spices are balanced out with base notes of bourbon, vetiver, and cognac. These soy candles are available in around 2 dozen fragrances in all, with each being hand-poured as part of a small batch; each will burn for around 75 hours. They’re from a small business located in Chicagoland that runs a studio and also offers candle-making classes. edgewatercandles.com
One Strange Bird Soy Candles Each of these eco-friendly, 9-ounce candles is made in the USA and hand-poured into a 3.5-inch diameter class jar with a gold screw-top lid. Their soy makeup means they’ll burn cleanly, and they’ll fill the room with their unique scents. You can choose from Beach Please, Ginger Fig, Rosemary Mint, Teakwood and Cardamom, Unicorn Magic, and White Tea and Ginger. onestrangebird.com
Pier 1 Frosted Cranberries This three-wick candle combines the fragrances of zesty cranberries, oranges, and raspberries, along with nectarine and melon. This pleasing scent and the decorative red jar make it great for giving as a gift – or for enjoying yourself. It provides 30 hours of burn time and comes with an attractive, matching lid. pier1.com
How To Choose a Scented Candle
A pumpkin-scented candle is perfect for October through November, for example — months when people welcome trick-or-treaters or Thanksgiving guests into their homes.
On the surface, a scented candle can provide a pleasant aroma for your patio, office, or home. But a scented candle can also add to the ambiance of any environment, especially if that scent is a reflection of the decor, the time of year, or the mood.
A pumpkin-scented candle is perfect for October through November, for example — months when people welcome trick-or-treaters or Thanksgiving guests into their homes. The same goes for purchasing a peppermint- or a holly-scented candle for the holiday season, or purchasing a cinnamon-scented candle for Valentine's Day, and on and on.
Homeowners should think of a scented candle as being like a well-chosen fragrance. "Wood Fire" or "Sandalwood" might work well inside a mountain chalet, for instance, whereas "Ocean Breeze" or "Midnight Tide" might complement a tiny boathouse on the shore.
You may want to give some thought as to how long you plan on burning a specific scent. If you plan on burning one scent constantly, then you'll probably want to purchase several canisters of that scent in bulk. If you've found a scent you're happy with, make it a point to always buy that scent from the same manufacturer. Different manufacturers use different materials, and different materials can lead to different results.
Several Keys to Proper Candle Etiquette
You might be surprised to learn that keeping a scented candle lit during a dinner party is actually considered poor form. Every course of a formal dinner should be savored, and a scented candle can take away from the enjoyment of the food. It's best to wait until dessert for lighting any scented candles. This way, the candle can suggest a more relaxed — if not intimate — mood.
Casual candle users are warned against this, however, just as they are warned against burning two different scents in the same area at once.
A lot of people prefer to keep scented candles along an outdoor porch for summer evenings. This is actually inefficient in that a scented candle's aroma can — and probably will — get lost whenever burning in the open breeze. It's better to burn a Citronella candle when you're outdoors and to save your scented candles for burning during indoor occasions.
Over time, candle enthusiasts may discover that they can mix two or more scents to create a unique aroma. Casual candle users are warned against this, however, just as they are warned against burning two different scents in the same area at once. In addition, candle owners should never leave a burning candle unattended, and they should store any matches in a child-proof cabinet or drawer.
When it comes to using scented candles as a reflection of "mood," the proper etiquette is to choose a scent that mirrors the mood you would prefer to be in. The thinking is that a scented candle can have the same effect on a person's outlook as music, or changes in lighting, both of which have been proven to have a sustained impact on a person's well-being.
A Brief History of The Candle
The earliest candles were invented by the Chinese around 200 BCE. The Chinese made their candles out of whale fat. One can imagine the smell. Europeans were the first to craft their candles out of beeswax. Beeswax candles were considered an extravagance up and through the age of Ancient Rome. European churches were particularly fond of lighting candles that were made out of either beeswax or tallow (a form of mutton fat). Church elders equated fire with a divine being's presence on the earth.
Today, candle sales are largely relegated toward home decor, outdoor illumination, religious rites, and aromatic smells.
By the end of the Middle Ages, candle-making had become a common craft. For a time, a village candle-maker would travel door-to-door, using a family's preserved cooking fats to make a candle while in their home. By the end of the 13th century, candle-makers had begun using beeswax so they could charge more per item. They had also begun selling candles out of their own stores.
Beeswax candles continued to be an extravagance until the 1830s, at which point a British metalworker named Joseph Morgan invented a machine for mass-producing candles based on a preset mold. During the 1850s, a Scottish chemist named James Young invented a process for distilling paraffin wax, and this — combined with mass production — led to candles costing a great deal less.
Obviously, candle sales were hurt by the invention of the light bulb. Despite that, candles remain an extremely viable industry. Today, candle sales are largely relegated toward home decor, outdoor illumination, religious rites, and aromatic smells. There are considerable side markets for homemade candles and specialty candles, as well.