150 hours of burn time. An immense range of great scents available. Relaxing lemon citrus and lavender fragrance combination is our pick, but there are hundreds of others. Premium clean burning wax and wick.
The best jar candle available is also a bit expensive.
Affordable. Long-lasting burn time. Exclusively made with soy wax, so these are vegan. Creative, yet appealing variety of scents. Bold combination of pineapple and evergreen pine.
All Lulu Candle jars look the same.
Scent is a mix of hyacinth, forget-me-nots, and blue hydrangea floral tones. Many other varieties available, in different scents and color schemes. Burns up to 60 hours. Made with premium wax. Semi-transparent blue jar.
Expensive, but proceeds go to the Autism Speaks charity.
2 wicks per candle. 140 hours of burn time. Bold maple syrup scent, but there are others to choose from. Jar lid seals in fragrance. Huge collection of options. Clean burning. Made in the USA.
A fairly pricy jar candle.
13 oz. of soy and paraffin wax. Delicious assortment of scents, mostly centered around desserts. 100 hours of burn time. No wax buildup. Many scents available in all sorts of fun names.
More subdued scents than the loud names imply.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Often imitated but never duplicated, the natural, soft glow of a flame soothes the soul and warms the spirit. That’s why jar candles are an ever popular, widely enjoyed accessory in every household. Their intriguing designs and scents can set the mood, whether it’s romantic, relaxing, or creative.
Jar candles — wax poured into a container as opposed to a freestanding wax cylinder — vary greatly in size, scent, and style. Many people prefer them to freestanding candles because they are safer and are less prone to dripping wax on furniture. Many are infused with oils and dyes to enhance their colors and scents. And depending on what they’re made of, jar candles can burn longer than other types of candles.
Our buying guide illuminates the benefits and drawbacks of various kinds of jar candles, introduces you to some of our favorites, and can help you find the right jar candle for your home.
Paraffin: Most jar candles contain paraffin wax, derived from various fossil fuels, a nonrenewable resource. Paraffin candles tend to be cheaper than soy candles, but they likely won’t burn as long. Oils can be added easily to paraffin wax, so the candles may have a wide variety of especially potent aromas. Some studies have found that burning paraffin wax candles gives off some harmful fumes, such as toluene.
Soy: Soybean wax is a renewable, sustainable resource. Jar candles with soy wax burn longer and cleaner than those made of paraffin wax. They leave less residue and soot and rarely smoke, and they’re better for the air because they don’t give off any harmful fumes. Soy candles take more time to warm up and give off their scent than paraffin candles. Also, the scents tend to be milder and will likely have less fragrance throw (release of scent).
Beeswax: Similar to soy wax, beeswax is a natural, nontoxic product with no chemicals added. Beeswax candles burn cleanly, without soot or smoke. Burning beeswax candles produces negative ions, which help clean impurities from the air. Beeswax candles have a brighter, purer flame than other candles. They may be unscented or mildly scented.
Burn time is important in a candle. The better the quality of the candle, and the better you take care of it, the longer it will burn. Large candles burn more quickly than smaller candles. Votives burn for up to 9 hours per ounce of wax, while a large 12-ounce candle might burn for up to 84 hours. The wax, any additives, and wick all affect a candle’s burn time.
While most candles come with a single wick, larger candles may have two or three. Because the width of the candle is appropriately sized for the added wicks, the burn time isn’t necessarily shorter.
Jar candles are simple items to keep on hand and enjoy, but they do require some attention and care. It’s a good idea to trim the wick to 1/4 or 1/8 inch before every burn. This helps the candle burn more cleanly and safely and reduces the amount of soot that can blacken the jar, especially beneficial when using paraffin wax candles.
Also, time the burns to make sure the wax melts evenly: keep the candle lit for an hour per inch of candle width. Burning a candle for too long or too short of a period can cause a tunneling effect where some wax doesn’t melt, essentially wasting it.
Finally, be sure to snuff your jar candle before leaving the house or going to bed. Never leave a lighted candle unattended.
Any burn time indicated on the candle is under ideal conditions. Make sure you take care of your candle. Uneven burns, damaged wicks, and dust contamination can shorten its lifespan.
The scents of jar candles are many and varied. They include common fragrances like citrus, exotic scents like hibiscus, homey smells like vanilla, and aromas that are less recognizable as one thing and more evocative of a place or idea, like sea spray or Christmas. It’s worthwhile to look up the aromatherapy properties of popular scents, because some may energize, others soothe, and yet others alleviate stress.
Here are a few common fragrances and their reputed aromatic properties:
Lavender: This popular fragrance helps to calm and soothe, relieving stress and tension.
Lemon: Citrus aromas, such as lemon, are said to have restorative properties that cleanse anger and frustration and promote renewal.
Peppermint: While evoking a holiday feel, peppermint is also an energizing and motivating scent that tends to sharpen and focus the mind.
Jasmine: With both calming and energizing attributes, the scent of jasmine is said to be ideal when looking to overcome obstacles with a sense of optimism.
Some jar candles offer you the chance to personalize the container with either a picture or a sweet, funny, or sentimental message, making a charming gift. Others give you the option of sending the manufacturer a picture to affix to the jar, which can later be preserved as a keepsake. Such services sometimes require an additional fee.
You can also find jar candles that contain a surprise in the wax that is only revealed once the candle has burned. Some of these are rather gimmicky, but there’s an element of fun in them as well. The treasures, which have to be able to withstand both the wax and the heat, include coins, jewelry, and other trinkets.
Once there is 1/2 inch of wax left, it’s time to say goodbye to the candle. Freeze or melt the wax to easily remove it from the jar, toss the wick, and recycle or reuse the jar.
Lighter: Bic Multipurpose Lighter
Relighting jar candles can be tricky, especially as the wax burns down. Use a long, flexible lighter like this one from Bic to avoid burning your fingers.
Bathtub caddy: Royal Craft Wood Bathtub Tray
You can enjoy your jar candle as you take a luxurious bath. A high-quality bamboo tub tray like this one holds your candle and other bathtime essentials.
Candle maintenance set: Tidelence Accessory Set
To achieve the cleanest flame and keep your candle burning a long time, trim the wick before each use and snuff the flame after. Use this beautiful rose gold set to maintain your candle in style.
If the wax doesn’t melt all the way to the jar edge on the first burn, it will keep burning this way with subsequent burns.
Inexpensive: For $10 or less, you can find some smaller candles (under 16 ounces) made from either soy or paraffin wax with a wide assortment of aromas.
Mid-range: Spend between $10 and $20 and you can find a vast selection of both soy and paraffin candles of various sizes and scents.
Expensive: For $20 and more, you can find large candles (such as 22 ounces). These may have one or more wicks and come in many scents. This range may feature especially potent paraffin wax candles or handmade, locally sourced soy wax or beeswax candles.
Q. Where should I place my jar candle?
A. Because the wax is contained in a jar, and the flame won't (and shouldn’t) rise above the rim of the jar, the candle can be safely used almost anywhere around the house. However, there are some safety measures you should always take. Keep the lit candle out of any breeze, and keep it away from fabrics, plants, and pets. A fireplace mantel, table, shelf, or bathroom vanity is a good spot for your candle.
Q. What type of wax is the best for a jar candle?
A. That decision is up to each consumer because each type of wax has unique qualities. And some candles are blends of various waxes, for example, to make a soy candle more potent or a paraffin candle less smoky. It might be worth experimenting with different kinds to see which one you prefer.
Q. How do I fix wax tunneling?
A. Tunneling happens when the wax doesn’t melt all the way to the edge of the jar and the wick burns down in a “tunnel.” As the remaining wax walls grow higher, it’s more difficult to get them to melt with the pool of wax at the bottom of the jar, which wastes wax (and money). Tunneling can be corrected in a few ways. Don’t trim the wick. This will keep the flame higher and stronger so it can melt the sides. Burn the candle for longer periods to allow the edges to warm. You can also try and cut down the walls to level the wax.
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