Best Tea Light Candles

Updated April 2021
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

36 Models Considered
20 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
111 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best tea light candles

Candles can create an inviting atmosphere, whether you want a calming ambience or something romantic and intimate. Made in a variety of sizes from different materials, candles may feature scents that soothe, invigorate, cleanse, or uplift. Tea light candles are tiny candles with a soft glow and a whole lot of personality.

Generally small and circular in shape, tea light candles consist of wax in a plastic or metal cup. The wax completely liquifies when the tea light is burned (as opposed to the slow drips of wax you might see running down the sides of a larger candle). Tea light candles may be used in candle holders or for other decorative purposes.

Since they don’t have a particularly large light output, multiple tea light candles are typically lit at the same time. The glow may last between two and four hours. In this guide, we delve into the details further, shining a light on various options so you can find the best tea light candles for your occasion.

tea light candles1
Due to the small flame, people rarely light just one tea light at a time. It takes several to create a noticeable light source.

Key considerations

Usage

The majority of tea light candles measure about an inch and a half in diameter and about a half-inch tall. As such, their purposes are somewhat limited, though you can get creative with how you set them up.

Tea lights are ideal for use in cozy spaces and during shorter activities, whereas larger candles tend to burn slowly and for a long time. They may be incorporated in decorative candle holders, used during bath time, or placed in the bedroom or outdoor patio area for mood enhancement. They are best used with little to no other light source, particularly artificial light sources. Many people turn off screens and overhead lights to make the most of the experience.

Wax

Three types of wax are used in candles, including tea lights. You will find all three available for purchase.

Paraffin: This common and inexpensive option is made from fossil fuels. Because it’s a nonrenewable resource, environmentally conscious consumers will likely want to shy away from it. However, paraffin wax candles tend to burn long and bright. Incorporated fragrance is more powerful, which may be a benefit or a drawback depending on your sensitivity to odors. Paraffin wax may cause soot to accumulate and candles to smoke, though it's likely less noticeable in smaller tea lights than larger jar candles.

Soy wax: As soy wax is a renewable resource, soy candles are popular among eco-conscientious shoppers and those seeking something that burns cleaner. They don’t result in the soot and smoke that paraffin wax creates, but they also don’t tend to burn as brightly. Soy candle scents tend to be more subtle with a more limited throw range.

Beeswax: Another environmentally conscious choice for tea light candles are those made of beeswax. Natural and nontoxic, beeswax doesn't leave behind soot or smoke like paraffin wax does. Beeswax candles are typically bright and lively, and like soy and paraffin, they may be scented. However, most users prefer the natural aroma emitted by beeswax, with hints of honey and earth.

Quantity

As they are relatively small, tea light candles are sold in packs. Depending on quality and other features, you may find packs with only a handful of tea lights as well as bulk buys with up to 100 or even 200 tea lights. Typically, the more you buy at once, the lower the cost per candle.

Tea lights may be infused with citronella to help ward off bugs. Due to their size and limited potency, you may want to light several at once for this purpose.

STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Scent

As mentioned, tea lights may be scented or unscented. Oils not unlike those used in an essential oil diffuser may be used to create fragrance. Take note of whether these oils are natural or artificial. The latter may be overpowering to some people, or it may aid in creating soot and smoke when the tea light is extinguished.

Some scents are sweet, such as vanilla; others are fruity and lively, such as cherry. Lavender is known to calm, while lemongrass can energize. Some tea lights feature seasonal scents, such as fresh mint around the holiday season and rain water in the springtime. Unscented tea lights tend to be white, while scented tea lights often are another color.

Extended burn time

Due to their small size, most tea lights burn for only a few hours. However, some boast a burn time of five or more hours. Companies often advertise the longest potential burn, which is achieved under ideal circumstances and not always possible. Snuffing and relighting a tea light will shorten its lifespan, as will exposure to humidity, dirt, and dust.

Faux tea lights

Battery-powered tea light candles are made to simulate a realistic flame. These options provide ambience while remaining safe and convenient. They are also known as flameless tea lights.

Flameless tea lights do not have the natural glow of other tea light candles, but some people prefer them because they can be used repeatedly without causing smoke, soot, or the potential danger of fire. Some faux tea lights flicker to create an authentic glow.

Faux tea lights typically cost a bit more, but they come in a variety of colors with flames that may be cool or warm. Some even change colors.

tea light candles2
DID YOU KNOW?
The earliest tea lights served both decorative and functional purposes. They were enjoyed for their ambiance but also used to heat up teapots, which is how they got their name.
STAFF
BestReviews

Accessories

Tea light holders: Kate Aspen Glass Tea Light Holder
You can choose to freely set up your tea lights or opt for a decorative holder. We like these vintage blue glasses by Kate Aspen that offer an elegant ambiance.

Decorative tea light display: Scrolled Ivy Metal Wall Sconce
This beautiful scrolled metal wall sconce holds seven tea lights at once and may be displayed in any room where you are able to install wall hooks.

Tea light candle prices

Inexpensive: For under $15, you can find large packs of paraffin tea light candles of varying quality and burn time. In this price range, you will also find smaller collections of soy and beeswax tea lights.

Mid-range: Most tea light packs, including soy and beeswax options, cost between $15 and $25.

Expensive: For over $25, you’ll find large packs of high-quality candles of different types of wax. For the money, you are more likely to get candles with a longer burn time. Scented options are also common.

After use, you may be able to recycle what’s left of a tea light. In most areas, you’ll have to remove the wick and throw that out, but the metal or plastic cup can be recycled.

STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Don’t leave burning tea light candles unattended. However small and seemingly harmless, tea lights still possess open flames and should be treated with care. Keep the candles away from breezes, and extinguish them when you leave the room.
  • Indulge. Tea lights are inexpensive and typically sold in large quantities, so there’s no need to be shy when it comes to using them. Light as many as you need to create the ideal experience.
  • Design a scene. Tea lights are ideal for setting a mood, but they can’t do everything by themselves. Consider incorporating music and other aromas, and be sure to turn off screens.
  • Mix and match. Opt for different scents and colors of tea lights to create a unique experience. Since tea light fragrances typically aren’t too powerful, you aren’t likely to create an off-putting smell.
tea light candles3
Tea light candles are relatively inexpensive to produce, resulting in lots of options for consumers.

FAQ

Q. Do tea light candles require maintenance?

A. Unlike other types of candles, tea lights have a short lifespan and require relatively little care. You're unlikely to burn any given candle on more than one or two times. If you intend to reuse a tea light, keep it away from water or moisture, and try to protect the wick. When you relight the wick, trim it first to about an eighth of an inch for an ideal and even burn.

Q. Can I make tea lights at home?

A. Homemade candles of any type are fairly straightforward, if not time-consuming, to make. It will require your preferred type of wax, plastic or metal cups, wicks, and a few other tools, like a funnel and stirrer. Still, it’s possible to make your own tea lights at home, though it’s best to work in bulk to make the most of your supply purchase. It will likely require some trial and error as well, particularly if you’re experimenting with fragrance.

Q. Do I need a tea light holder for my tea light candles?

A. Tea light holders are a diverse bunch of decorative vessels that can enhance your tea light experience. They may alter the glow, cast shadows, or simply add a bit of elegance to your space. Some tea light holders house just a couple of tea lights; others hold 10 or more. Holders are not necessary to the enjoyment of tea lights, though when used outdoors, some can help prevent interference from mild weather.

 

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey

Our Top Picks