Candles have played a significant role in the home and outdoor lighting and décor for a long time.
According to a 2010 report, the demand for wax had risen to almost 10 billion pounds with the candle share at approximately 50%.
Research also shows that seven out of 10 American households use candles, which totals about $3.2 billion yearly.
They come in a wide range of shapes, fragrances, waxes, colors, and uses.
Nevertheless, choosing the ideal candle for a particular occasion can be overwhelming.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the different types of candles and how best to use them.
25 Types Of Candles
1. Votive Candles
These candles are a handy option that you can use to liven up any space in your home or office.
While a votive candle could easily be confused with tea light candles, both candle types have significant differences.
Votive candles are small but bigger than tea light candles.
They are approximately 2.5 inches tall and 2 inches wide.
Tea lights have their own containers.
You will, however, need to find a holding container for your votive candle to use it safely.
While they come in a variety of colors, white is the most common as it creates a perfect atmosphere in any setting.
Votive candles burn for long periods, which is surprising given their size.
They also don’t produce smoke.
The best thing about them is once they burn to the bottom, a votive candle will simply burn out without posing a fire risk.
2. Tea Light Candles
They are the smallest (38 mm wide) and come in small plastic or metal containers.
Tea light candles burn for about five hours and are a great way of accenting an intimate space.
Given their size, these candles give off very little light.
You must therefore light several and group them up to enjoy enough light.
Nevertheless, their main objective is to set an intimate and cozy mood, making them an ideal decoration for romantic dinner dates, parties, or some personal time off.
They are cheap and readily available.
You can easily recognize them, thanks to their small size and metal container.
3. Flameless Candles
These are an electric alternative to normal candles.
Most are battery-operated and come with a remote.
Flameless candles don’t produce heat or smoke.
They come in various designs and fragrances for both interior and exterior use.
They are becoming increasingly popular, especially where children are involved, for safety reasons.
These candles produce enough light to create an inviting environment for your occasion.
Although electric, they are not static.
Rather, they flicker and move just like normal candles, which gives them a natural appearance.
Some flameless candles can be programmed to turn on and burn at a specific time.
Those with remote controls allow you to easily turn them on and off at once without moving from one candle to the next.
4. Taper Candles
Taper candles are tall, thin, and mostly cylindrical.
They generally burn for a very long time and require a candleholder since they can’t stand on their own.
A typical taper candle is about 12 inches long and can burn for at least 10 hours.
They come in different shapes and colors.
While a typical taper candle is cylindrical, some are also ribbed or twisted to add visual appeal and uniqueness.
These candles are ideal for a special table setting such as a romantic dinner or a party where you don’t want to keep checking your candles.
They can also be used for mantel décor.
5. Pillar Candles
These candles come at various heights, with some being as tall as taper candles.
The shortest pillar candle is three inches, while the tallest is 16 inches.
They are made from dense paraffin wax or palm wax, which allows them to stand independently without a holder.
They are splendidly commanding and breathtaking when lit.
Some pillar candles are made with up to three wicks due to their large size.
More wicks ensure that you control the intensity of light.
Light your candle on a flat, heat-resistant surface to avoid damage as the wick burns lower.
Keep an eye on your pillar candles as they can easily be knocked over due to a lack of protective jars.
While they are designed in different shapes and sizes, most pillar candles are cylindrical.
You can light one or several and place them on mantels, lanterns, or as table centerpieces to accent lighting in your home.
6. Container Candles
Container candles come packed in safe, non-combustible containers usually made of metal or glass.
They are typically poured directly into the container, thus making them safe as the candle is firmly in place at all times.
The candles often come with a lid, which prevents them from releasing fragrance into the air when not in use.
Container candles are made in a wide range of sizes, fragrances, wicks, and colors.
Container candles are mostly manufactured by eco-friendly companies.
Most containers can be reused for new candles or other things.
These candles are safer due to their stability and are great for outdoor events or parties with lots of energy.
The containers are designed to handle the heat produced when burning.
They are also visually appealing given their numerous designs, sizes, and shapes.
Some manufacturers also come up with elaborate shapes such as stars to create a functional and artistic look and feel.
7. Floating Candles
Floating candles are lightweight and thus able to float on water when burning.
They are relatively small in size when compared to other candle types, but can burn for several hours.
Unlike other candles that require a holder or a flat surface when burning, floating candles need a bowl or a container large enough for free movement.
The main advantage of floating candles is that you don’t have to worry about knocking over the candles or wax spillage.
These candles can add a festive feel to a table setting and instantly add a warm touch to an event when used appropriately.
They create quite a spectacle, especially when moving in a spacious container.
You can also add some flowers or petals to the bowl for a more dramatic effect.
8. Birthday Candles
Birthday candles are incredibly thin and light cake toppers.
These classic celebration candles come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors, and designs.
They are usually used on celebratory cakes.
While birthday candles light very fast, they give you ample time to make a wish or blow them out before burning out.
There are numerous types of birthday candles, with the most popular being:
- Trick candles: These candles relight themselves when you try to blow them out. Their wick is coated with magnesium powder, which can reignite itself every time it’s blown out. After the fun, run the wick underwater to truly put the flame out.
- Sparkler candles: They allow a fun twist to the festivity. These candles give off fun glittery sparks when lit. Once lit, wait for about a minute. The sparks will die on their own. You cannot blow them out.
9. Cotton Wick Candles
Cotton or paper core wick candles burn a lot faster and hotter than other types of candle wicks.
Cotton wick candles produce more melted wax than other candle wicks.
These wicks are generally used in wax-filled glass candles due to their ease of burning.
10. Metal Core Wick Candles
Metalcore wicks are usually made of zinc or tin.
The metal is normally left standing as the wax melts, leaving the candle looking nicer for longer.
They are mostly used to make votive and pillar candles.
Initially, there were safety concerns over the use of metal in making candle wicks and allowing them to burn.
Studies show that both zinc and tin are non-toxic and therefore safe to use as candle wicks.
While lead was among the metals used to make candle wicks, it was later banned as it contains impurities that could be harmful when burnt and released into the air.
11. Wood Wick Candles
Wood wick candles produce a crackling sound when lit.
The sound adds to the magic and uniqueness of the moment.
It’s wider than the regular cotton wick, which allows it to burn evenly and for longer.
When trimmed after each use, a wood wick exhibits a cleaner burn than a cotton wick as it produces less carbon and debris.
This is a great wick as it leaves you with very little mess to clean up after use.
12. Multiple Wick Candles
If you usually find yourself running around lighting all your candles on time, save your energy and try multiple wick candles.
In addition to spreading the light and scent quicker, more wicks in one holder look stylish.
In addition to producing more light, multiple wick candles burn more evenly.
They also give off more fragrance if scented than single wick candles.
Trim the wicks often for an even and clean burn.
13. Palm Wax Candles
Palm wax is the thickest among all other types of wax used to make candles.
This makes the wax last long, ensuring the candle has a longer burn time.
The wax is also biodegradable, making it easier to dispose of in a greenway.
Palm wax is made by placing palm oil under high temperature and pressure, which separates fatty acids from the oil.
The fatty acids are then used to make palm wax.
14. Soy Wax Candles
Made 100% from soybeans, soy wax candles continue to grow in popularity.
Being made from a natural and renewable source, these candles burn slowly and exhibit a cleaner burn.
They don’t produce carbon or other harmful pollutants when lit.
The candle produces a brighter and cooler flame with an almost fluorescent glow.
Soy wax candles have been shown to last three to five times longer than their counterparts.
A great alternative to paraffin wax, soy wax is becoming increasingly popular in making container candles.
15. Beeswax Candles
From ancient Roman times, beeswax has been an excellent choice when making candles and wreaths.
Beeswax doesn’t drip as much, and its candles have a longer burn time.
Candles made from beeswax are generally more expensive than other types of candles for obvious reasons.
Beeswax candles burn much cleaner and for longer than candles made from paraffin and soy wax.
They are most popular for their bright, warm golden flame, delicate honey scent, hexagonal design, etc.
They are smokeless and act as a natural air purifier when burning.
Beeswax candles clean the air by reducing allergy-causing pollutants in the atmosphere.
16. Paraffin Wax Candles
Paraffin wax is the most common candle-making wax.
It’s also the cheapest.
Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum and has a very high melting point.
It’s both colorless and odorless.
The wax is mainly used to make pillars and votive candles so they can be strong enough to stand independently.
Paraffin wax candles come in various colors and fragrances.
The odorless nature of paraffin wax makes it ideal for use with numerous scents.
Any color used to make paraffin wax candles brings out a visually appealing masterpiece.
This wax was first introduced into the candle-making industry in the late 19th century.
Its popularity increased in the years that followed until some researchers questioned its safety.
While there are arguments for and against paraffin wax use in candle production, it continues to be the most preferred wax among manufacturers.
17. Bayberry Wax Candles
Bayberry wax is made from the bayberry plant.
It has an olive-green color and comes with a strong natural scent.
Given that it’s not durable on its own, bayberry wax is usually mixed with beeswax to make sturdy candles.
The bayberries are boiled with the wax rising to the top.
It’s then collected and mixed with the beeswax.
This wax is mostly used to make holiday candles due to its refreshing natural fragrance when burning.
18. Liquid Wax Candles
Liquid wax candles are usually made from various oils.
They don’t produce carbon or smoke, therefore, they are a great option for office space.
These candles are made from mineral or paraffin oil and are ideal if you want to keep off the mess made by traditional candles.
You don’t have to worry about your surface getting damaged by spilled wax or cleaning soot and spilled candle wax.
19. Gel Candles
These are an innovation in the candle manufacturing industry.
Gel candles are best known for producing ample light (almost double that of wax candles) and burning for much longer.
These candles are made from a blend of mineral oil and resin, giving them their signature clear look.
Gel candles often sport a dried flower, petals, or berries mixed in the gel for visual appeal.
They typically come in glass containers and are between three and nine millimeters tall.
If placed in the right location, they can really be therapeutic and soothing.
Gel candles produce a faint aroma more due to the natural gel scent than any deliberate scenting.
They bring out the best ambiance when placed at the dinner table or poolside.
Nonetheless, it’s important to note that the containers that hold these candles tend to heat up very fast.
It’s therefore prudent to refrain from burning these candles for more than two hours.
20. Scented Candles
Scented candles are usually made from a blend of wax.
Their popularity increases during the festive season such as Christmas.
Essential oils or mineral oils are typically mixed into the wax to produce a pleasant aroma when burning.
Scented candles also come in various shapes and designs, such as pillars, tea lights, container candles, etc.
In addition to improving the appearance of your space, scented candles can significantly improve the fragrance of your home.
If there are unpleasant odors or musty smells in your home that you need to get rid of, scented candles are your best bet.
From peppermint to pine, to wood, and floral scents, you can easily find the perfect scented candle for your space.
Aromatherapy candles can also be categorized as scented.
They contain various essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, etc., that are alleged to arouse different feelings when used in a certain way.
The fragrance from the candles when burning is said to help calm the mind, reduce stress, and revitalize the body, among other benefits.
21. Unscented Candles
For those who prefer the beauty and feel that candles add to any setting minus the fragrance, unscented candles may be your treat.
Some people prefer unscented candles because they are allergic to certain smells or simply because they prefer going natural.
They are great if you don’t want competing aromas in your space and especially where food is involved.
Even without the perfume, these candles are as functional and stunning as their aromatic counterparts and can help transform your exterior or interior space perfectly.
22. Candle Sets
You can also opt to place several candles together in the same area to make a set.
Candles in a set come in varying sizes or shapes but exhibit a similar design or color.
Even with a similar design or theme, a candle set will not match seamlessly.
The glaring differences in some aspects bring out a striking cohesion and unusual perfection in the set.
23. Theme Candles
Theme candles are a great way to decorate for any occasion.
You can opt to decorate your entire home using candles themed for various holidays across the calendar.
It’s a fun way to ensure inclusivity and uniqueness.
Themed candles allow you to create a pleasant atmosphere with a unique touch.
Let your guests enjoy the warmth and coziness that comes from an assorted design candle-lit party.
24. Dripless Candles
Wax dripping down the sides and ruining the surface a candle is placed on is a major problem faced by most people.
Rather than being constantly on guard, it’s wise to invest in dripless candles.
With a dripless candle, you won’t have to worry about burns or damaged surfaces from dripping hot wax.
The candles appear neater, burn for a longer time, and produce a cleaner flame than regular candles.
25. Insect Repellent Candles
Most people spend time outdoors during summer having immeasurable fun after a cold period.
Also, animals, both small and big, come out of their habitats to enjoy the pleasant sunny and warm atmosphere.
While you can apply OTC insect repellants, some of them contain harmful chemicals.
It’s better to light insect repellant candles.
They not only drive away annoying insects but also transform the immediate environment into a cozy and more enjoyable space.
Nonetheless, the candles won’t work in windy weather or a very large space.
Citronella is derived from lemongrass that’s mostly used as a natural bug repellant in candles.
The plant-based essential oil has been used for many years as a pest repellant.
It produces a bright flame and a delicate citrus fragrance when ignited.
Place your insect repellant candle on your deck or patio and enjoy a bite-free evening.