The 23 Best Candles to Make Your Home Smell Amazing
Whether you want a fresh-scented kitchen or the relaxing aroma of lavender in your bedroom, lighting a candle sets the tone in your space and adds a level of coziness and warmth no matter where it's placed. Finding the right candle for your home, however, can be a challenge.
Candles come in a range of sizes, scents, and designs. Some serve as decor while others just offer the ambiance of a lit flame. To help you find the best fit, we talked to experts and researched the best candles out there, keeping in mind each one's size, wax blend, wick type, and burn time.
Overall, our favorite candle is the Yankee Candle Personalized Candle for its customization options. With this candle, you can choose the container, scent, and label, so you're guaranteed to get your ideal combination.
To help narrow down your choices, here are the best candles.
Our Top Picks
- Best Overall: Yankee Candle Personalized Candle
- Best Budget: Public Goods Lavender & Vanilla Soy Candle
- Best Splurge: Diptyque Baies/Berries Candle
- Best Decorative: CB2 Alabaster Candle Bowl
- Best Gift: L'or De Seraphine Whitby Ceramic Jar Candle
- Best Travel Candle: Harlem Candle Company Lady Day Travel Candle
- Best Tapered: Hyoola Tall Taper Candles
- Best Soy Wax: Redoux Candle "529" Candle
- Best Beeswax: Anthropologie Hive & Wick Siracusa Lemon Candle
- Best Multi-Wick: Bath & Body Works Mahogany Teakwood Intense
- Best Wood Wick: WoodWick Frasier Fir Candle
- Best Flameless: West Elm Indoor/Outdoor Flickering Flameless Pillar Candle
- Best Tea Light: Yankee Candle Unscented Tea Lights
- Best Scent Options: Here For The Burn Lit AF Candle
- Best DIY: Siblings The Starter Set
- Best for Kitchens: Brightland Digestif Candle
- Best Holiday Scent: Brooklyn Candle Studio Montana Forest Minimalist Candle
- Best Fresh Scent: LAFCO Jungle Bloom Candle
- Best Floral Scent: Literie 28th Street Flower Market Candle
- Best Warm Scent: Nette Another Life Scented Candle
- Best Smokey Scent: Apotheke Charcoal Candle
- Best Set: Otherland The Mini Set
- Best Burn Time: Boy Smells Hinoki Fantôme Magnum
Best Overall: Yankee Candle Personalized Candle
Best Budget: Public Goods Lavender & Vanilla Soy Candle
Best Splurge: Diptyque Baies/Berries Candle
Best Decorative: CB2 Alabaster Candle Bowl
Best Gift: L'or De Seraphine Whitby Ceramic Jar Candle
Best Travel Candle: Harlem Candle Company Lady Day Travel Candle
Best Tapered: Hyoola Tall Taper Candles
Best Soy: Redoux Candle "529"
Best Beeswax: Anthropologie Hive & Wick Siracusa Lemon Market Candle
Best Multi-Wick: Bath & Body Works Mahogany Teakwood Intense Candle
Best Wood Wick: WoodWick Frasier Fir Candle
Best Flameless: West Elm Indoor/Outdoor Flickering Flameless Pillar Candle
Best Tea Light: Yankee Candle Unscented Tea Lights
Best Scent Options: Here For The Burn Lit AF Candle
Best DIY: Siblings The Starter Set
Best for Kitchens: Brightland Digestif Candle
Best Holiday Scent: Brooklyn Candle Studio Montana Forest Minimalist Candle
Best Fresh Scent: LAFCO Jungle Bloom
Best Floral Scent: Literie 28th Street Flower Market
Best Warm Scent: Nette Another Life
Best Smoky Scent: Apotheke Charcoal Candle
Best Set: Otherland The Mini Set
Best Burn Time: Boy Smells Hinoki Fantôme Magnum Candle
Overall, we recommend the Yankee Candle Personalized Candle because you can choose your own vessel, scent, and label for a truly personalized experience. For a more budget-friendly option, we recommend the Public Goods Lavender & Vanilla Candle, which is surprisingly affordable, comes in three sizes, and is ideal for any room in your home.
How to Shop for Candles Like a Pro
A candle's burn time refers to how many hours you'll be able to burn it before you won't be able to use it anymore. Though there are a few ways to calculate it, it's often impacted by a candle's size, wax blend, and wick type. On average, a candle will have a burn time of about 40-50 hours.
Paraffin, soy (vegetable), and beeswax are some of the most common wax types you'll find in candles. Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, so those who are concerned about the environment may prefer to use soy or beeswax candles. However, there is no evidence to suggest that paraffin wax is dangerous.
Cotton and wood are two of the most common wick materials out there, and both have their own benefits.
"Wicks that are made from a combination of cotton and wood are the long standing tradition," says Kathy LaVanier, CEO of Renegade Candles and spokesperson for the National Candle Association. "There are hundreds of sizes and types for the candle maker to select from, so the wick can be closely matched to the combustion characteristics of the fragrance each candle uses. They create a pleasing yellow light and flicker as they burn."
Wooden wicks make a crackling sound while they burn and offer an additional sensory experience. "They also create a nice deep wax pool, allowing the candle to give off an impactful scent. The flame is typically a bit shorter and not quite as bright as a cotton wick."
Questions You Might Ask
What is a candle throw?
According to LaVanier, throw is "the term candle lovers use to describe how strong the scent is. Does it fill a space with a very noticeable scent? If yes, then it has a very strong throw."
Though a candle's throw is different from candle to another, it's important to consider, especially when you're deciding where to place it. "For some uses, like in the office, users may prefer a gentle throw that brightens the mood of the area without taking it over."
How do you burn a candle correctly?
When you get a candle, there are several steps to ensure you're lighting it properly. For starters, trimming the wick is one of the most essential steps—according to LaVanier, the ideal height is a quarter inch.
"Trimming the wick will allow your candle to burn more evenly with less carbon in the wax pool. If your wick becomes overly long or weighted down by a large carbon head on the tip of it, it may lean over and cause the candle to burn hotter on one side while leaving unused wax on the other," she says.
Once the wick is trimmed, you'll want to light it properly to prevent tunneling. Tunneling occurs when only a small portion of wax around the wick melts, creating uneven rings of wax within the candle. According to LaVanier, candles are meant to be burned 3-4 hours a time, but tunneling often occurs when a candle is burning for a short length of time.
How do you take care of a candle?
When a candle isn't being used, proper storage is a key factor to consider. Though some believe that freezing a candle will make it last longer, LaVanier highly recommends storing them at room temperature.
"Freezing a candle often causes it to crack and it will slow the formation of a full wax pool, which is what you need to lift fragrance into the air," she says.
You don't necessarily have to clean your candle, but if you want to, LaVanier recommends a specific method.
"You don't want to introduce water into a candle, so cleaning dark residue from the inside of the glass has to be done by wiping with a dry rag, if done at all," she says.
How do you safely light candles at home?
Though candles can pose a safety risk, there are plenty of ways to safely light them. "Ensure that candles are placed on a solid and level surface that is beyond the reach of pets and children," says Brian Metzger, a fire protection engineer at the United States Fire Administration.
In addition to not leaving a candle unattended, Metzger recommends ensuring lit candles are at least 12 inches away from combustible materials, like drapes, bedding, furniture. You'll also want to ensure you don't place candles "too close to each other such that their heat can cause them to lean or melt unevenly."
Take Our Word for It
Jamie Weissman is a commerce editor with two years of experience researching and writing about home products. To make this list, she considered each candle's size, wick type, wax blend, and burn time. She also consulted Real Simple editors, as well as experts from the National Candle Association and United States Fire Administration.