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Updated October 2021
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Buying guide for best soy candles

The soft light and warm glow of candles are some of the most enjoyable and relaxing additions to any room in the home. A candle can provide a scent that’s invigorating, relaxing, or nostalgic while offering gentle light that’s easy on the eyes. As consumers look more toward purchasing sustainable and environmentally friendly products, candles made from soy have risen in popularity.

Soy candles function like other candles in which a wick absorbs and burns liquid wax. The wax turns into vapor and is released into the air. Made from soybean oil instead of paraffin wax, soy candles produce a lengthy, clean burn and may be infused with aromatic essential oils. These candles are relatively easy to make and, because they come from a sustainable source, are better for the environment. 

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Soy candles are relatively easy to make at home. You just need soy wax, a wick, a jar, your favorite essential oil, and some patience and care.

Key considerations

Benefits of soy candles

There are many reasons why consumers are turning to soy candles. They are easy to make, readily available, and relatively well priced. Here are a few more notable benefits.

Longer burn: Generally, soy candles burn longer than paraffin candles of the same size. This is because soy candles burn at a lower temperature. Many companies advertise an estimated burn time for their candles, though it’s worth noting that this is likely under optimal circumstances. If the candle gets dirty, the wick snaps, or the burn is uneven, the candle may not last as long.

Cleaner burn: Often, candles made from paraffin leave the holders black and dirty as they near the end of their burn. Soy candles release far less soot, especially toward the end of the burn, and so don’t leave such residue behind. It’s better for the air and better for your home. Soy candles won’t dirty your walls the same way a paraffin wax candle can.

Sustainable: Soy candles are made from soybean oil, which is a natural, renewable resource. This is preferable to paraffin wax, which is derived from crude oil. However, consumers should be aware that retailers often stress environmental friendliness and use vague terms like “organic,” “natural,” or “green” that don’t have specific definitions. Look at the ingredients to see if anything extra has been added in the manufacture of the candle.

Milder scent: Soy candles typically don’t overpower you with their scent. Many paraffin candles don’t pair well with meals because the strong aroma can affect your palate. Soy candles have a mild scent that won’t overpower the smell and taste of food.

Drawbacks of soy candles

There are a few drawbacks that may or may not affect your decision to purchase soy over paraffin candles.

Cost: Some soy candles cost more than similarly sized paraffin candles. However, you may feel their longevity and quality make up for the difference in price. Though the initial cost may seem steep, soy candles should prove their worth over the long term.

Limited and milder scents: Many large candle companies offer candles with scores of different scents. By comparison, you may find the scents of soy candles rather limited. Also, if you expect a potent aroma when you first light a candle, you’re likely to be disappointed. Soy candles tend to take more time to spread the aroma, and when they do, it’s likely to be mild rather than overwhelming. Soy candles supplement a space and mood with their aroma, but they don’t usually dictate it. These aren’t the candles for you if you want to mask an unpleasant order or immediately infuse the air with a powerful scent.

Other ingredients: While most soy candles are made from natural ingredients, some may contain extra components either for the scent or to improve the burn time. Always be sure to check the ingredients. If a soy candle uses similar ingredients to those found in paraffin wax candles, you’re losing some of the soy candle’s benefits.

Less heat: Soy candles give off less heat than paraffin candles, which contributes to their longer burn. However, soy candles, just like any other candles, can get quite hot — and unsafe — if left lit for a long time.

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Expert Tip
Trim your candle’s wick. It should be about a quarter of an inch long when lit. If it’s longer, the flame can grow too big, causing the wax to melt unevenly.



Soy candles can have cotton or wooden wicks and may come with one, two, or three wicks. The additional wicks allow for a more controlled burn in candles that are larger in diameter. Typically, a candle that’s wider than three or four inches requires an extra wick for an effective burn.  


Most soy candles use essential oils to create the scents. These may be sweet, floral, woody, or other natural scents. Lemongrass, vanilla, cedar, jasmine, and lavender are among some of the many choices you can find in soy candles.


Soy candles are meant to appeal to the senses, and many come attractively packaged in beautiful, decorative boxes and jars that are perfect for gifting. Sets of candles may have a theme or pattern as well, and you’re sure to find one that coordinates with your décor. 

"Many candle companies mention “aroma throw” or “fragrance throw.” This isn’t a scientific term. It tells you in general how well a candle’s scent fills a room."


Candle holder: H Potter Hurricane Lantern Candle Holder
Put your soy candles on display in this ornate and durable iron candle holder.

Bathtub caddie: Royal Craft Wood Luxury Bathtub Caddy
A long bath is a great time to enjoy a scented soy candle! Keep all your bath essentials close at hand in this bamboo caddy, turn off the lights, and relax. 

Lighter: Bic Multipurpose Lighter
Some candles can be tricky to light, especially as the wick burns down into the candle. Don’t risk burned fingers. Grab this wand lighter instead.

Candle snuffer: Godinger Candle Snuffer
The best way to extinguish a candle is not to blow on it but to use a snuffer. We love this elegant floral option from Godinger.

Soy candle prices

Inexpensive: You can find soy candles with a decent lifespan in a variety of scents for under $15.

Mid-range: Most soy candles cost between $15 and $25. These vary in size, which determines their longevity. The scents likely won’t affect the price.

Expensive: For over $25, you can find larger soy candles or sets of smaller artisanal ones with various scents.

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Expert Tip
Soy candles make terrific gifts. Many come in decorative boxes, and some can be personalized by adding a name or message on the container’s label.


  • Time the first burn. To maximize the life of your soy candle, time the inaugural burn. Keep it lit for one hour per inch in candle diameter to ensure an even burn as you use it.

  • Protect your candle. When not in use, make sure to keep a lid or cover on your soy candle. Any dust or dirt can ruin the wick and affect the burn.

  • Use a snuffer. Blowing out candles can be fun, but it can also create smoke and move around dust in the air. To protect your candle and the air quality, use a candle snuffer.

  • Don’t leave candles unsupervised. It’s never safe to leave a lit flame unattended, especially overnight.

Other products we considered

We stand by the products in our matrix, but there are many more options when it comes to soy candles. We love the hand-poured Lulu Candles, which are made in the United States and include scents like wild lemongrass or espresso bean.

From a company that prides itself on making sustainable, environmentally friendly products come the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Soy Candles. This set of two with a lavender scent is reasonably priced, too.

Another hand-poured choice is the CoCo Benjamin Soy Candle, which comes in fresh scents like black cherry or bergamot and grapefruit.

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A soy candle’s lifespan varies by size and manufacturer. A 7-ounce candle may burn up to 40 hours, while a 16-ounce candle may last well over 100 hours.


Q. Where should I place the candle?
A. Keep the soy candle away from any area where there may be a breeze, such as a window or air vent. Excessive air movement may cause the flame to flicker, smoke, or go out and negatively affect the burn. Also, don’t position the candle near flammable items like drapes or curtains. Place your candle toward the center of the room so that the aroma can spread evenly in all directions.

Q. How long can I keep the candle lit?
A. It’s best to snuff out your candle after four or five hours of use. This will avoid any excess carbon collection and higher than normal flame. When you first light your candle, make sure that a pool of wax has properly formed before extinguishing the flame. If you don’t leave it burning long enough, tunneling may occur in which an outer rim of wax is left untouched. This causes the candle to burn unevenly, limiting its scent and longevity.

Q. What do I do when the candle is done?
A. When there’s about a half inch of wax left in the container, it’s time to say goodbye to the candle. Keeping it lit any longer may cause excess soot or smoke, damaging the jar and polluting the air. You can place the jar in the freezer to chill the wax so that it’s easier to remove. You can find another use for the wax and the jar or recycle the jar.

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